Monday, December 22, 2008

Rage against Antulay's statement more irrational than Antulay's statement

First, Minority Affairs Minister M.R.Antulay is not giving out his own opinion. It could very well be is his as well. But like a politician he is echoing the opinion of the Urdu -- unfortunately Muslim - media and other Muslim opinion-makers. The liberal Muslim intelligentsia of the metropolises has no clue about its Urdu-speaking counterpart. Let it be remembered, that Hemant Karkare had become a sort of a hero for ideological Muslims because by probing the Hindu terror links of September, 2008 Malegaon blasts, he seems to have freed the Muslims in general from the albatross of Muslims being the terror-mongers. Now these Muslims -- who form just a minority among the 150 million Muslims in this country -- found the strength and the proof to turn around and say that it is not Muslims alone who are terrorists, the Hindutva groups too are terrorists. Let us remember that this is a fight between minority Hindu fundamentalists and minority Muslim fundamentalists. It has also to be admitted that when terrorists, who were Muslims, were caught, BJP, Shiv Sena and other fanatics made it into an anti-Muslim campaign.There was unfortunately some truth in the charge that it is Muslim youth who are being misled into terror activities. It is not very different from the Naxalites from other social groups who take to guns to fight an unfair economic system. It is also true that there is tremendous bias against Muslims, but not all of it is baseless. The reality is indeed messy.
It is in this context that Antulay's statement is to be viewed. The brainless English media, which is really authoritarian and vulgarly jingistic under the skin, was only too ready to pounce on him. But the English media did not have the courage to say that this is indeed the undercurrent of sentiment that is being fanned by ideological Muslims.
Having said that, it cannot be denied that the deaths of Karkare and his colleagues is inexplicable. They were ambushed and killed by a lone terrorist. According to reports, it was Kasab's companion who was firing at them from his AK47. It seems to have been one of those tragic incidents. If a little more care had been taken, the lives of these police officers need not have been lost.
Let us also remember that many things went wrong in the rescue operations in Mumbai, and we have to learn our lessons. So, we cannot shy away from asking some hard questions about the way our security forces function. At a basic level, it is absolutely clear that there was no chain of command, there was no control room as such to deal with the situation. Senior officers like Karkare should have been in the control room, planning and directing the operations. They should not have rushed into the fray at the spur of the moment. We need these officers. We cannot afford to lose them. This is a legitimate line of inquiry.
Unfortunately, the ideological Muslims are asking for it for all the wrong reasons. They must know that it would be foolhardy to suspect a Hindu terror hand when the whole operation seems to have been that of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba. This does not mean that suspected Hindu terror groups are being given a clean chit. As far as this major terror attack is concerned, there is no reason to go off on a wild goose chase looking for involvement of Hindu terror groups.
So, the critics of Antulay -- the right-wing Hindu groups and the media -- are just flaunting their anti-democratic credentials when they are shouting like a rabble against Antulay. Antulay is certainly stupid, and so are the ideological Muslims. But there is a democratic and gentlemanly way of saying it. Calling Antulay " a Pakistan agent" reveals the fascist in us all.

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