Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s outrageous allegation that “BJP and RSS conduct terror camps to spread terrorism” is not a shot in the dark. Made at Jaipur in the presence of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, it has not only not been disowned by them, but has actually been backed by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid who says it was based “entirely on facts.”
The timing and import of this political assault are significant.
In the first reported incident of Pakistani barbarism after 26/11, two Indian soldiers patrolling on the Indian side of the LOC were beheaded by Pakistani troops on 07 Jan, 2012. The head of one of them was taken away and bodies of both were mutilated. The news went viral on social media and led to a spontaneous outrage and righteous outcry across the country for suitable retaliation.
Surprisingly, Salman Khurshid, in his first reaction, said he was not going to be “pressurised by any wild calls for revenge” as India has made a “huge investment in the peace process.” This was followed by Praveen Swami’s mischievous report in The Hindu, where he not only blamed the Indian Army for initiating the ongoing LOC violations but also alleged that it too had beheaded two Pakistani soldiers in 2012. Mysteriously, Pakistani journalist Wajahat S. Khan, who took a very aggressive Pro-Pakistan stance and made preposterous allegations on Barkha Dutt’s show on NDTV, knew about Swami’s piece – he called it “a narrative changer” — well before it was published.
Fortunately, in the face of continued public outrage, and after the Prime Minister was belatedly briefed by Army Chief Bikram Singh, India toughened its stand and took a few damage-control steps like sending back Pakistani Hockey players and artistes, and putting on hold the disastrous visa-on-arrival agreement etc. The Prime Minister too said, rightly, that there could not be business as usual with Pakistan.
Suddenly, all the gains that Pakistan had extracted after and despite 26/11, without conceding anything in return as always, are beginning to evaporate, and the situation is back to where Pakistan and the Congress party do not want it to be. Both have made “huge investments” since 2009, but Pakistan’s de facto rulers, the men in uniform, have made them in keeping with their hostile strategic objectives in mind, — as many Pakistani panelists on TV reminded us — while India’s myopic and avaricious rulers have put electoral prospects of Congress ahead of and above India’s national interests.
When the Congress party did better than even it expected during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, among the many theories doing the rounds was one that was whispered but not openly articulated, the evidence then being not solid enough to substantiate it. As per this conspiracy theory, the ISI had a role to play in the victory of the Congress and defeat of the BJP. This was based on the following :
- The Congress has lost its core dalit vote in UP to Mayawati and Yadav vote to Mulayam Yadav. It also no longer has any core vote among remaining Hindus, who remain vulnerable to advances of the BJP. Due to this fundamental weakness, Congress needs Muslim votes to survive and win. A Congress government will, therefore, per force be very soft towards the activities of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Indian Mujahideen (IM); this will give them much needed time and space to expand their influence and multiply their hit capability, to be activated at the right time.
- The Congress will also turn a blind eye to ISI’s efforts to radicalise Indian Muslims and fan Muslim separatism, both necessary to achieve the long term objective of turning the whole of India into an Islamic state through a thousand cuts.
- A BJP government is most likely to react militarily to another 26/11 type of attack. After the terror attack on Parliament in 2001, the then BJP government had given the go-ahead for launching a military offensive that was called off at the very last minute, thanks to the intervention of the US. The Congress, on the other hand, made a bit of noise and did nothing after 26/11. In future too it will try its best to avoid precipitating a crisis, no matter how grave the provocation, having been convinced by Pakistan-friendly elements within that it will cost it Muslim votes.
In support of this theory, the following facts were cited at that time:
There has not been a single terror attack, big or small, since 26/11. This is because the ISI ordered all such attacks to be put on hold at least till the elections to ensure that no floating Hindu votes get diverted to the BJP.
- Compared to 2004, the Congress has gained around 6% vote share. But in UP, where the Muslim population is large, the party has gained a huge 10% compared to the Assembly elections in 2007, when it got just 8.56% of the votes. The fact that the only other party to gain vote share in the state since 2007 is the BJP, although by only 0.57%, while the SP and BSP have lost around 2% and 3% respectively, is conclusive evidence that Muslims have shifted to the Congress in huge numbers. Hindus, on the other hand, have not gravitated towards the BJP.
- This tectonic shift in the Muslim vote to the Congress in UP has taken place virtually unnoticed. This could not have happened on its own. There was obviously a concerted effort by influential and powerful extremist elements and possibly some fundamentalist religious leaders to keep this development under wraps to prevent any reverse polarisation of Hindu votes in favour of the BJP, because had that happened, this shift of the Muslim vote would have got negated.
The success that the Congress party achieved, manifestly led its strategists to believe that all that it needs to do to retain power in Delhi is to get Muslims to vote for it en bloc again. The Hindu vote, splintered along every fault line possible, cannot pose any challenge to it, as long as hatred and revulsion can be generated and sustained among enough Hindus for the BJP and RSS. Caste based ‘Hindu’ parties and regional outfits can easily be made to fall in line and make up the shortfall in seats, if any.
The ‘heavy investment’ in the peace process with Pakistan and the relentless attacks on the Sangh parivar flow directly from this ‘Unite Muslims, divide Hindus’ mantra adopted by the Congress to minimise the negative electoral impact of its dismal performance and monumental corruption over the last nine years.
That is why ISI, LeT, SIMI, IM and other umbrella terror outfits have been virtually removed from public mind with the help of an obliging media and the candle brigade that either do not talk about them or do so in manner that makes them look benign, even wronged. They have also got into overdrive about the common culture, language and ethnicity – the sameness — of the people of India and Pakistan, (South Asia for bubble gum kids) and the great love they have for each other. All this also helps make the case that giving more and more concessions to Pakistan — itself a victim of terror, they say — is in India’s supreme national interest.
On the flip side, Indians are being told ad nauseum that a vast majority of ordinary Pakistanis are secular and want to have very close relations with their Indian brothers, but – this is critical – their wishes are not being fulfilled primarily because the BJP and RSS are poisoning the atmosphere in India. The almost total silence about the many Pak-sponsored terror attacks that have killed thousands of Indians is being matched by the almost daily front-paging of leaks about four bomb blasts allegedly carried out a few years back – the last was in 2007 – by a handful of misguided Hindu extremists, in reaction to Pak-sponsored attacks. Conveniently ignored is the fact that almost all of them are in prison and no one has yet been convicted, and that earlier the LeT was blamed for most of these attacks.
The picture, thus, that has been photoshopped and rammed, very systematically and deliberately, is that of Hindu terror happening now, a terror that poses a real, present and growing danger to India and Indian Muslims. The BJP and RSS, we are not allowed to forget for even a minute, are the only enemies that Indians need to worry about: India’s real war is not against friendly brother Pakistan or Islamist terror groups promoted and supported by that country, but against Hindu/saffron terror deliberately spawned by the Sangh. That even Rahul Gandhi has been led to believe this nonsense is a telling indication of how deep the reach of elements inimical to India is.
In fact, under the garb of fighting BJP and RSS politically, communal elements in Sonia Gandhi’s all-powerful kitchen cabinet, the NAC, have gone the whole hog and unleashed a war on all Hindus. The draconian Communal Violence Bill, approved with alacrity by her but not yet enacted, has in one stroke, achieved what a thousand terror attacks cannot. The Hindu has been virtually declared The Terrorist in his own country and subject to draconian provisions of law that even terrorists who blast innocent people are not. He cannot speak, he cannot write — much less do — anything that can be construed as offensive by a member of a minority community. Worse, even democratically elected governments, where Hindus are in majority, have been declared untrustworthy; unelected bodies in which minorities will be in majority are going to decide whether the Hindu is guilty or not. His voice has, thus, been throttled and his spirit, his freedom killed far more effectively by Mrs Gandhi than the ISI could even have dreamt.
Why has there been no major Pak-sponsored terror attack since 26/11? The answer, to my mind, is simple. When the Indian government has taken upon itself to unwittingly further the agenda of the ISI, where is the need for the Pakistani establishment to resort to active terror that will inflame passions and undo such good work prematurely? But when you ingrain soldiers — in uniform and out — with violent hatred for your enemy, you have to periodically whet their appetite for blood. Talk doesn’t work for them; their oxygen is wanton, brutal violence.
The barbaric beheading and mutilation of two Indian soldiers in Indian territory, despite a cease fire being in place, may have excited Kiyani, Hafiz Saeed and their men, but it has upset the proverbial apple cart of the Congress. The grand old party that led India to freedom has, tragically, so completely put its eggs in the minority basket that, ironically, the only Indians left to oppose it electorally are, honourable exceptions apart, Hindus. If they get together, Congress has simply no hope. It is mortally afraid of their rage.
That is why Shinde and Khurshid have launched a new attack on BJP and RSS. They do not want Hindus enraged by yet another Pakistani assault on their country and their sensibilities, to rise and punish Congress for not punishing Pakistan, by voting for BJP. Their attention has to be deflected from Pakistan’s hostility and barbarism, and Congress’ treachery. They have to be made to see in BJP the enemy that Pakistan is, the Devil’s Alternative that they must not vote for.
This Goebbelsian refrain is Congress’ lifeline. It is, equally, BJP’s death warrant. And it is the opening that a much smaller and weaker Pakistan needs, to win the existential war that it senses it is finally beginning to win. So far, the BJP has shown little interest and imagination in taking on this threat by shaming the Congress and educating and awakening the voters. Its leaders – the same old story – are more keen on defeating each other than in saving their party, indeed the country. Will they, will we, learn?