"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

India should be ashamed for letting down an honest police officer, who exposed Hindutva terror Featured

Gurpreet Singh 

Saturday, May 30 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the second term of Narendra Modi’s right-wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government in India. 

Modi won with a huge majority in the May 2019 general election. 

Out of total 542 seats in the parliament, the BJP alone bagged 300. This was more than the total number of 272 seats required to get a clear majority. 

In 2014, BJP won 282 seats—10 more than the magic figure. The 2019 election result was therefore a spectacular win that no one anticipated. 

The most challenging part of this election was that it was considered a referendum on the sectarian politics of Modi. Attacks on religious minorities, especially Muslims, had grown under this government since he first came to power. 

Those opposed to Modi warned that if BJP got another chance, India will be transformed into a Hindu theocracy. Not surprisingly, the victory emboldened the Modi government to scrap special status given to the state of Kashmir- the only Muslim majority province in India - in the name of national security. An armed insurgency alongside peaceful agitation has been going on in the region for the right to self-determination. The BJP has always been threatening to take away special rights given to the people of Kashmir, to polarize the Hindu majority in the rest of the country. Not only have civil rights and freedom been suspended in the area, troops have been heavily deployed to suppress any voice of dissent. 

If that was not enough, the government has passed a controversial and divisive Citizenship Amendment Act that discriminates against Muslim refugees coming from the neighbouring countries, sparking angry protests, which have subsided due to lockdown following the outbreak of COVID 19.  

It's now a matter of time until India officially declares itself as a Hindu nation, as the country has made a choice. 

If the election of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur—a controversial Hindu ascetic who faces trial in the bombing conspiracy against Muslims - is any indication, Indians have not only sold their soul to Modi, but have let down an honest police officer who exposed the Hindutva terror network. 

The late Hemant Karkare had smashed the terror module involved in bombings targeting the Muslim community. Until then, the media and the intelligence blamed most terror incidents in India on Muslim extremists, without even considering the possibility of Hindu fanatics being involved. 

Karkare, a thoroughly professional officer associated with Maharashtra’s anti-terrorism squad, was completely detached from majoritarian prejudices. This was in spite of the fact that he was a practising Hindu. 

Notably, Modi and his party had started a smear campaign against him for arresting Hindus involved in terror activities. 

Thakur, who was nominated as a BJP candidate from Bhopal, was involved in the 2008 bomb blast in Malegaon. The incident  left 10 people dead and close to 100 injured. This was one of the many blasts triggered by a gang that wants to instill fear in the minds of Muslims and establish a Hindu state by overthrowing a democratic and secular republic of India. Her arrest had outraged Modi. 

Thakur wasn't the only Hindu extremist to be arrested for terrorism. Karkare's investigation culminated in the arrests of several more who had conspired bomb blasts in different parts of India. 

On November 26, 2008 when India’s financial capital of Mumbai came under attack from a Pakistan-based terror group, Karkare was shot to death under mysterious circumstances. Many, like former police officer S.M. Mushrif, believe that it was a set up to silence Karkare forever; in the garb of a terror attack, a shadow group took his life. His book, “Who killed Karkare? The real face of terrorism in India” raises too many questions.  Some of the arguments he has made are very convincing. 

Mushrif’s second book, “Brahminists bombed, Muslims hanged: The Brahminist game of blast and blame Muslims” maps out all the terror incidents involving Hindu extremists and gives a detailed account of how these cases have been diluted and weakened by the government under Modi, and police and courts have enabled individuals such as Thakur to go unpunished. Thakur was given bail to run for office, while others like her were acquitted for lack of evidence. The Modi administration has indicated that it's not going to pursue these cases, and the courts have said that not enough evidence was presented to corroborate the claims against suspects. Modi has publicly gone on record to discredit investigations against Hindu extremists by accusing previous governments of deliberately maligning Hindu groups. 

This is in sharp contrast to what Muslim and Sikh extremists face at the hands of the police, who have frequently killed political activists and suspects through extra judicial means with impunity. 

It is pertinent to mention that Karkare, who became a national hero overnight for the BJP after getting killed in the Mumbai terror attack, was defamed posthumously by Thakur and her supporters. 

Whether or not Karkare was killed by Hindutva forces is difficult to establish, but the way his investigation has been botched after his death and his image is being tarnished by the apologists of Modi is shameful. 

One needs to read a book by his daughter Jui Karkara Navare to understand the commitment of the slain officer, who had dedicated his life to the country. ‘Hemant Karkare: A Daughter’s Memoir” reveals how fair this exceptional policeman was. He was just doing his duty without any discrimination. His faith in Hinduism and his love for the country did not blind him while dealing with Hindu extremists or extremists of any other shade alike.  

It was indeed painful to see the nation turning a blind eye to the actions of Thakur and others like her in the BJP and giving Modi another chance. 

For now, Indians need to do some introspection and hang their heads in shame, rather than rejoicing over the second win of someone who is patronizing terrorism and hatred. 

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