October 2, 2022

Dharma Sansad and the Politics of Hate – Part II

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India needs to focus on combating radicalisation and terrorism. But for the politicians, it is always ‘Votes First’ with everything else secondary. This has led to a host of contradictory actions by the Government

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

(To read in conjunction Part I)

There is no denying that majority of the terrorist organisations in the world are Muslim. At the same time, majority of people being killed in terrorist attacks annually also happen to be Muslims.

According to the US and western scholars, the top 10 terrorist organisations in the world (who also are the richest) have the following tanking in descending order: one, ISIS; two, Hamas; three, FARC; four, Hezbollah; five, Taliban; six, Al Qaeda; seven, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT); eight, Al Shabab; nine, REAL IRA, and; ten, Boko Haram. Of these, eight top terrorist organisations are Muslim, minus FARC and REAL IRA. The US revoked the designation of terrorist organisation for FARC on November 30 last year, which means that the Taliban has climbed one rank higher and become the fourth top terrorist organisation in the world. 

The US handed over Afghanistan to the Taliban on a platter last year along with US$85 billion worth of weapon platforms, weaponry and defence equipment. According to the media, by 2019 Afghanistan still produced about 84 per cent of the world narcotics market, an export value of aboutUS$4 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords, and drug traffickers. According to the BBC, the Taliban have private sponsors based in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar who donate US$500 million every year. In addition, Afghanistan has mineral and oil reserves valued at US$1-3 trillion.

America’s tradition of being a super spreader of terrorism in installing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Taliban in Afghanistan is not all. It has been using terrorist organisations (Al Qaeda and ISIS included) to further its national interests and continues to do by using the ISIS in Afghanistan and against Central Asia.  

America’s tradition of being a super spreader of terrorism in installing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Taliban in Afghanistan is not all. It has been using terrorist organisations (Al Qaeda and ISIS included) to further its national interests and continues to do by using the ISIS in Afghanistan and against Central Asia.  

On December 14 last year, the US House of Representatives voted on an anti-Islamophobia Bill. Republican Senator Ilhan Omar, who had introduced the Bill, tweeted: “Today the full House of Representatives votes on the Combating International Islamophobia Act. Until everyone is free to practice their religion, no one is”. The Bill was passed 219 to 212. The Bill calls upon the President to appoint a ‘special envoy’ for monitoring and combating ‘Islamophobia’ and alleged anti-Muslim state sponsored violence and include the same in America’s human rights reports.

The above proposed ‘Combating International Islamophobia Act’ completely ignores the fight within the Muslim world (Shia-Sunni included) and debate between Muslims on Islam.

During an exclusive session on Islam at an international conference in Baghdad (Iraq) in March 2014, Iraqi youth raised the following: curriculum of educational institutions must be modulated to accommodate diametrically opposite views of clerics from different sects; tolerance must be shown to other forms of prayers within Muslims; inability to arrive at viable solutions has led to increased radicalisation and sectarian strife, capitalised upon by terrorist organisations and global players; terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda through terrorism they can achieve a caliphate but which religious authority has authorised them to undertake this form of jihad? Unfortunately, the clerics remained adamant that no changes are required in the educational curriculum.

The US ignores all this in order to continue ‘using’ Muslim terrorist organisations plus the growing Muslim vote bank. Islam is the third largest religion in the US but exact figures of Muslims are difficult to arrive at because the US Census Bureau does not ask questions about religion. The Pew Research Center in 2018 estimated that there were about 3.45 million Muslims of all ages living in the US in 2017. Their assessment was that by 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as America’s second-largest religious group after Christians. And by 2050, the US Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million.

With around 204 million Muslims (2019 estimate), India’s Muslim population is about the world’s third-largest and the world’s largest Muslim-minority population – 10.9 per cent of global Muslim population. The rate of growth of the Muslim population is faster compared to other communities, as is the case in the rest of the world. But India has done nothing in terms of population control. On the contrary, in an affidavit filed in December 2020, the Indian Government maintained that the family welfare programme in India gives couples the right to decide the size of their family without compulsion as it rejected the need for a two-child norm or a specific law limiting the size of families in India. So, there is no disincentive to have five-six-ten children – that many more votes?

India needs to focus on combating radicalisation and terrorism. But for the politicians, it is always ‘Votes First’ with everything else secondary. This has led to a host of contradictory actions by the Government, few examples of which are as under:

  • The Shaheen Bagh blockade (which could have been removed in two-three days) was allowed to continue for 100 days because the BJP thought it would help win Delhi in the next elections. The judiciary took no cognisance of the public road being blocked for over three months. But the effect was the opposite with AAP winning Delhi again. The eventual violence for removing the blockade only fanned hatred.
  • Saudi Arabia has banned the Tablighi Jamaat calling it the ‘Gateway to Hell’. Membership of the Tablighi Jamaat is open to Pakistani military personnel, Tablighis joined the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) in the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-184 and the Jamaat is also linked with Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). Yet a 3,400 strong Tablighi Jamaat conclave was allowed at Markaz Nizamuddin in March 2020 defying the Delhi lockdown amid raging COVID-19. Most of the participants came directly from Pakistan after a similar event and their e-visas were promptly cleared in India. Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi of Markaz Nizamuddin publicly called for defying government orders of lockdown. The NSA went at 2 AM in the morning to personally meet Kandhalvi but when the Court gave orders to apprehended Kandhalvi, he could not be ‘found’ though the police knew his exact whereabouts. All this because of Muslim votes including in the then upcoming Assam elections.
  • The Popular Front of India (PFI) has armed cadres who have been undertaking armed training in the jungles of Kerala. Five of their cadres were caught in 2005 in Kupwara (J&K) trying to cross into POK. The PFI has firm links with the Maoists and according to intelligence agencies played a role in the Delhi Riots. However, the Government has not even banned the PFI because of Muslim votes.
  • Government made some perfunctory noises about measures being taken to improve and integrate madrassas in the national education system. Of particular focus should have been Wahabi teachings that lead to radicalisation but there is no concern.

In backdrop of the above, it is laughable to make sponsored calls to kill Muslims with the aim of garnering all Hindu votes in upcoming elections, especially Uttar Pradesh which for some reasons is considered the mother-of-all-elections. That is unlikely to happen looking at the party switching game underway in UP presently. As it is the power-hungry politicians of all our political parties have collectively ruined the nation through increasing reservations not based on financial status but caste and creed – lowering all standards across the board.

According to an affidavit filed by the CBI in the Supreme Court on August 1, 2016, there were around 31 lakh NGOs in 26 states with Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana still to adduce information about the number of NGOs, so the total number of NGOs will be more than 31 lakh. Besides, more than 82,000 NGOs are registered in seven Union Territories. Though not an easy task, intelligence agencies should be able to track them if they are not always burdened with how to down the opposition. Without doubt enormous funds are being pumped in from abroad much of which would be to create instability in India. But blocking funds to an NGO only based on religion is stupid. Don’t we look like fools blocking the FCRA of Missionaries of Charity and then going back to when the issue was raised in the British Parliament?

The issue of conversions can be dealt with by the judiciary but with regard to genuine work being done by missionaries, the Government needs to ponder isn’t this because the administration is lacking – both by the Centre and States. It is for the same reason why Maoists permit the Ramakrishna Mission to function inside the Dandakaranya Forest and the Mission is doing yeoman service in remote areas elsewhere too; because as a nation we have failed to provide basic services to the populace.

The fact remains that universal application of syllabi in schools is the need of the hour as almost all schools backed by religious organisations have skewed syllabi which makes the youth more emotional and radical instead of becoming balanced and rational. Besides, how are we talking of Universal Civil Code when we continue with caste, creed and reservations and special privileges to the reserved category of the reserved categories and minorities and cannot muster guts to regulate population growth?

The fact remains that universal application of syllabi in schools is the need of the hour as almost all schools backed by religious organisations have skewed syllabi which makes the youth more emotional and radical instead of becoming balanced and rational

It is difficult to understand why India cannot be renamed Hindustan or Bharat. Taking cover that the Constitution says “India that is Bharat” is pusillanimous. Are we afraid that Muslim will be lost? Will Sri Lanka say Sri Lanka that is Ceylon or Myanmar accept Myanmar that is Burma? Whatever happened to the renaming hysteria and the “Garv Se Bolo Hum Hindu Hain”? What about “Garv Se Bolo Humara Desh Hindustan Hai”? When Prime Minister Narinder Modi visited Iran, the Ayatollah welcomed him saying, “Hindustan Se Aaya Hai Mera Dost.” So why are we ashamed to adopt that name?

Finally, we should dump this stupid talk about killing the minorities. According to a recent poll, 45 per cent of the youth are concerned about unemployment and the Jai Chands would love to create goon armies and send them on killing sprees. But that would be playing into the hands of those who want to create endless instability and weaken India. Let the youth at least get initiated into genuine community work to nurture harmony in the society as suggested by the Vice President.

The author is a veteran of the Indian Army. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of https://strategicaffairsindia.in

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