Jamia Nagar encounter: Alarm bells for the nation and the community
By Navaid Hamid
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Much has been said and written, in last few days, about the unearthing of the network of the terrorists killed and captured in and aftermath of the encounter at L-18, Batla House, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi. In coming days and weeks, the nation would hear and read new details of brief from security agencies, of the plot to destabilise the nation and that of new arrests in the conspiracy to terrorise the country.
Nearly all captured and killed belong to the lower middle strata of the Muslim community who have a highly brilliant educational profile and seem to be living a normal life with high dreams like any other young Indians would have.
The operation has come as a shock for the nation and the Muslim community. Till the black Friday of 9/19, the day on which the net work of the 'terrorists' was unearthed, the Indian Muslims have got words of praise even from the adversaries of Islam and Muslims, from Evangelist President Bush of America to Hindutva mascot Advani in India, for keeping themselves aloof from the groups of the militants confronting the aggressions in Iraq, American led operations in Afghanistan and armed struggle in J&K by separatists in India.
As news spread like a wild fire of the operation at Jamia Nagar, people across the nation watched TV sets in disbelief and confusion. By evening nation got brief of claims, from the security agencies, about the combing operation and unearthing of the 'terrorists' group in the capital, responsible for the bomb attacks in Delhi and other parts of the country. From the claims of the security agencies and the live electronic media trial, nation got first hand information of the indigenous Muslim terrorist network.
While the combing was still in process, the residents of the locality, civil rights groups and the Muslim organisations started raising serious reservations about the operations because of the history of the fake encounters along with the role of security agencies to demonise the Muslim community and the haste of the electronic media to sensationalise the news to raise their viewer ship rate, in past.
Incidentally the confusion, disbelief and shock remain even after so many days of the encounter. A substantial segment of Indian society, even after 60 years of democratic journey of the nation, thinks that it is obligatory for Muslims to believe with blind eyes what ever the security agencies wishes to brief and if they dares to do analysis of the events and reports, the dangers of bracketing them with anti national activities looms large over their heads.
In the Jamia shoot out, with the death of a brilliant Police officer, an encounter specialist and leader of the combing operation who died due to excess bleeding and heart attack after gun injuries in the operation, the security agencies version got weight age and wide acceptability. But still more steps and transparency are needed to convenience the nation.
The shoot out has deeply divided the society and urgent steps are required to control the damage.
The incident has nearly polarised all sections of Muslim society not only in the area around the Jamia and other Muslim concentrated localities in Delhi but also in the targeted villages and lanes around and in Azamgarh in U.P.
The Nation's official electronic channel and Radio felt it in national interest to give wide publicity to the news of transaction of 30 million rupees in one of the account of the suspect of the Delhi Bomb blast and combing operation of Jamia but transaction of few thousands was discovered after cross check from the Bank in Azamgarh. Such conflicting versions strengthen the suspicion of the civil society and the Muslim community about encounters.
There should be no problem for initiating a judicial enquiry of the Jamia encounter if the slate of the security agencies is clean and they have ample evidences against the arrested and killed suspects.
It was nothing but to demonise the entire Muslim community when the Delhi Police paraded the arrested youths with heads covered with Arabian scarf with a desire to substantiate the theory of Islamic terrorists which is un acceptable to every single Muslim in the country. The over zealots in the security agencies fails to understands that such acts are counter productive and harmful even in fight against terrorism.
The sense of 'perceived injustice' and demonisation acts is strengthening the anger and frustration which would be counter productive in the fight against terror and violence.
Now when the un believable has happened and confronting versions are coming with every passing hour, the nation and the community should seriously ponder over the fall out of the incident. If we sincerely desire that the Indian Muslims must accept the version of the security agencies about the Jamia operation, it is in the national interest to go in depth about the reasons behind the emergence of educated young Muslims involvement in acts of violence and terrorism.
We have seen how the Islamic madarsas have been targeted in past about their role in propagation of Jihad and anti national activities. The Muslim community has expected that NDA's Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Lal Krishan Advani would keep his promise and bring a white paper on the anti national activities of the madarsas and their role in propagation of Jihad but his government lost power with out any progress on the front.
Now when the biggest Islamic institution in India, Darul Uloom Deoband has categorically denounced the acts of terrorism, issued a "Fatwa" against misuse of Islam and had term the acts of violence against tenets of Islam and as we find not a single name from the Islamic Madarsas in India, involved in any kind of violent or terrorist activity in any part of the country, new phenomenon has emerged in recent past.
Wherever there have been arrests of Muslim youths for any kind of violent activity in recent past, majority of the arrested youths have highly modern educational profile with brilliant academic career. These youths have not even seen the gates of Islamic madarsa's in their life.
As per the version of the security agencies the arrested youths in different incidents in past, from Ahmedabad to Hyderabad and from Delhi to Mumbai and Karnataka, have claimed to be part of the terror network with one commonality, the commonality to take revenge of Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 and the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 in which more than 2000 innocent Muslim youths, women children were brutally killed and property worth billions were vandalsied and torched.
If we accepts the theory of the security agencies in black and white, every nationalist have a right to know about the measures taken to address the grievances.
We have silently witnessed that nothing seriously was done to give justice to the victims of Mumbai riots of 1992 and the Modiete pogrom of Gujarat. Who can deny that few victims of Gujarat has got some kind of reprieve and justice due to the intervention of the Supreme Court only.
Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaran gave a courageous statement while delivering Filed Marshal Carriapa's Lecture recently by admitting that alienation of the Muslim community in the country is taking educated Muslims towards "path of violence".
There is no denying fact that the more and more educated Muslim youths are loosing hope in the democratic system of the nation as in democracy the numbers are important and these youths feel that the political leadership of the nation is doing great harm to them by turning their faces away from them as they don't have numbers. They wish an inclusive policy for them but get cold response from the polity. Unfortunately majority of the Muslim politicians are shy to advocate their case and are busy in safeguarding their interests for their own survival.
It is high time that instead of jerk reactions, the Muslim leadership and community's organisations should sit together to plan joint strategies to fight the onslaught and do urgent home work to consul the agitated young minds of the community before it's too late. Leadership have to convey a strong message in the community that the path of violence would lead us to nowhere and would do more harm to us beside strengthing the hands of community's adversaries.
It is in the national interest that the political leadership of the nation must find consensus for having an inclusive policy for all including Muslims. To convince the Muslim community and the civil society about the fair and impartial role of the security agencies, some kind of mechanism needs to be developed and the easiest ways seems to be constitution of Judicial Commission to probe every terrorist activity in the country. This is necessary because nation has witnessed that majority of the arrested Muslim youths, in past, have got reprieve from courts during the trials as Anti-Terrorism Squad fails to convince the courts about its charges against the arrested youths.
It is a sad story that more and more Bar Councils in the country are passing resolutions asking its members not to take cases of the arrested Muslim suspects. Hyderabad has witnessed violent assault on Muslim Advocates when they decided to defend the arrested Muslim youths. Who can deny that a good majority from more than 180 Muslim youths arrested for terrorist activities were acquitted in the trial court in Andhra Pradesh and just two suspects are facing charges in Hyderabad blasts.
In Delhi, an advocate has withdrawn himself from the defense Counsel of the arrested suspect. It would be great injustice if nation expects that Muslims must also crucify the arrested suspects with out fair trials.
Knives are out against the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mushir ul Hasan of Jamia Millia Islamia, the institution which was at the forefront of the freedom struggle and was established to strengthen the composite fabric and plural structure of Indian society, for daring to take a courageous step to provide legal aid to two of its students who are suspects in the Delhi Blasts. The purpose seems to not to defend them but to give them a chance to prove their innocence in court. For BJP it is an anti national act.
Leave alone the perpetrators of the mass crimes against hapless Muslims in Mumbai riots and the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, even the killers of Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Former Prime Ministers Indra Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have a right to get them defended but the arrested Muslim suspects deserves to be hanged without fair trial.
In an ideal state it is paramount duty of the establishment to convince every group and race, by actions, about the impartiality of the state apparatus.
The nation has witnessed the casual behavior of state apparatus when it comes to take even notice of the activities of Bajrang Dal and VHP. Bombs were not only recovered from activists of Bajrang Dal from the State of Maharashtra, U.P. and Orissa, but its activists were killed while developing bombs in Kanpur in State of Uttar Pradesh. Camps of arms training were organized for its cadres but we see no action from the security agencies against the militant Hindutva outfit.
In last two months, Bajrang Dal and VHP activists have killed and attacked Christians, vendalised and torched Churches from Uttarakhand to Orissa and Karnataka but hapless nation waits for more attacks from them on minorities.
The acts of demonising the Muslim community would do more harm instead of solving problems and further alienate Muslims besides posing great dangers for the nation. The politicalisation of terrorism and the victimization of the Muslim community would undoubtly further breed real terrorists in the Muslim community. Nation should rise above petty politics and politicalisation of terrorism must stop at once.
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