Digvijay Singh and the many shades of terror

The problem with Digvijay Singh’s recent statements about saffron terror is that they seem tangential. The question is most certainly not the veracity of what he has said, but it is also rather convenient to ignore what he is saying. It has resulted in a bizarre blame game with both sides claiming to be beaten up with rods and sticks. Then, there is the banter of “Is the Congress party with him or does it distance itself from his comments?”

No one cares about the initial spark when the Indian Mujahideen were seen as natural suspects. Here are quotes from some reports:

The government's refusal to speak on the nature of groups behind the terrorist attack saw Muslim leaders object to conclusions about an IM hand. Some even hinted at saffron terror.
While Congress did not speculate on the identity of terrorists behind Mumbai attacks, the party did not take kindly to IM being named without official confirmation. The party reaction came in response to questions about terror outfits being named within minutes of the recent Mumbai incidents.
AICC spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said, "You should ask this question to mediapersons sitting left and right in the room because they have named the group. Only they can answer how the culprits are identified within minutes of an incident." Terror outfits should be named only after the government had confirmed their role, he said. "This is a sensitive issue. So one should not speculate on it, it vitiates the atmosphere."

For the past few days we have seen a veritable line-up of all possible names – SIMI, HuJI, LeT, ISI, Kashmir extremist groups, IM. So, why is there such a reaction when saffron terror is mentioned? Digvijay Singh did not implicate them, but said in response, “I do not rule out anything”. It was only later that he said:

"I have been saying that RSS was spreading terrorism in the country and it has been making bomb factories.”

He clarified that it was not about these blasts.

In a rather well-timed move Swami Aseemanand who had confessed to his role in several blasts has said he is “innocent”.

The rightwing is getting all hot and bothered and its party spokesperson Shahnavaz Hussain stated:

"The BJP condemns the disgusting statements of Digvijay Singh and seeks an apology from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on this.”

Well, there are a lot of people who are disgusted with a lot of things. Instead of an apology, ask Digvijay Singh to produce the evidence he says he possesses regarding the role of saffron terror.

I am a bit curious about the Gujarat IM angle. I think there is a concerted attempt to push the Gujarati idea deliberately. The IM’s role is probably the most obvious from the perspective of observers, but I find this portion from a report datelined Ahmedabad rather intriguing:

Terror outfit Indian Mujahideen has tied up with Taliban for sinister plans in India. Crime branch officers, who arrested a key IM operative, Danish Riyaz, in June claim to have unearthed details of the joint venture between the IM and the religious militia in Pakistan-Afghanistan.
A senior crime branch officer said, “Emails and correspondence of Danish with five top terror operatives, including Haroon of Kolkata, have revealed this conspiracy across international borders. Haroon had also been to Hyderabad to meet Danish to discuss their plans.”
These developments had taken place before Danish was arrested from Vadodara railway station in June. “According to Haroon’s emails, 10 handpicked youths from across the country were to be sent to Pakistan and then Afghanistan for terror training,” said another senior officer of the crime branch.

This sounds like some corporate tie-up. Danish was in Gujarat, a state that is known to be quite hard on any form of terrorism. It is a known fact that chief minister Narendra Modi spends a good deal of money on spying.

If their plan was across international borders, was Mumbai their testing ground? (Do note that they were to go to Pakistan and then Afghanistan for training – does it mean there is a hierarchy in this schooling?) Since Danish did not get to meet with his colleagues, did they carry out the attacks without any ‘leader’? It is extremely pertinent to keep track of what happens when a key member of a group is arrested soon before a major attack takes place.

I find it rather interesting that while Digvijay Singh’s comments allude to the fact that terrorism has no colour and he is pulled up for it, the liberals saying so are seen as, well, liberal. Shabana Azmi said it on a TV panel discussion.

Let us get real: Terrorism has a colour. It has an ideology. It has motives. It has specific targets. It has enemies. It comes about due to several reasons – from anti- majority to anti-minority to anti any other.

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In fact, the term terrorism has gained popular currency and is used for just about anything – from fashion to pop culture to food to activism.

Terrorism is a word that is used carelessly.

Imagine a group of citizens who do not want a flyover on their road. The Peddar Road residents have been fighting against it for several years. Earlier singer Lata Mangeshkar, who lives on the main road, had said that the pollution would affect her voice and had even emotionally blackmailed the authorities by saying she would leave the city if it came up. This is a tony locality and it is fair to raise doubts about kickbacks and pollution, even if it might do these people some good if they checked the number of cars per family in these same areas before grumbling about pollution. However, I am plain disgusted to read someone from the residents’ association say:
“If a high-intensity bomb is exploded by terrorists on and under the flyover, it will fall in our compounds. Also, the area lies on a fault line. In case of any calamity, even the rescue vehicles won’t be able to reach people.”

Actually, I am not disgusted. It is expected. Pollution does not sound grand enough. Think of bombs falling in their compounds.

And here is the Times of India. Look at the picture, see who is in it and the caption they have used with it:

SECURITY ABOVE ALL ELSE: A policeman tells a biker that he can’t park his vehicle at Zaveri Bazar on Monday

No comments from me.

End Note:

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Make up your minds, Mumbaikars. You either laud the 'spirit of Mumbai' or you rubbish people who continue their plans to host functions. The Shiv Sena has taken Shahrukh Khan to task for celebrating some film release. He is not in it and has no stake and it was planned much ahead. People have watched the film, eaten popcorn, laughed and joked.

It will be the film community that will attend police functions and be tapped for money, and they will contribute. There is much to critique about Bollywood, but when the Sena and other parties hold their special meetings and have chai-pakoras and start planning on their next move, they too are celebrating the possibility of their victory in the next polls. If they are not, then shut up and promise you will not contest elections riding on the back of this incident. I will say the same applies to Digvijay Singh, who I am reasonably certain will not win. Shabana Azmi can.

Contradictions anyone?


  1. //Let us get real: Terrorism has a colour. It has an ideology. It has motives. It has specific targets. It has enemies. It comes about due to several reasons – from anti- majority to anti-minority to anti any other. // Absolutely correct. What USA done in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Vietnam, Iraq and middle east, is also a form of terrorism but they are world power so countries have to keep their values and self respect at stake to support USA.

    Second half of the article is a bit confusing.

  2. Countries need to have some self-respect, even if the stakes are high.

    PS: There are three parts loosely, so I do not know which second 'half' you found confusing. But it's okay. You'll get used to it!

  3. "In fact, the term terrorism has gained popular currency and is used for just about anything – from fashion to pop culture to food to activism.

    Terrorism is a word that is used carelessly."

    easy for you to write and so incredibly satisfying for me to read. thank you for always saying it like it is.

  4. Thanks. But sometimes I also say what it should be like.

    PS: You get satisfied so easily? :)

  5. "PS: You get satisfied so easily? :)"

    I do :) If I didnt toh tab bhi issue hota nai? :)


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