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Friday, April 24, 2009

Falsehoods about terrorism: 'Islamic' and 'un-Islamic' terrorists [Indian Muslims and Media]

From April 13 till April 22, India witnessed repeated attacks on trains, killings of security forces in large numbers spread over six states and that involved at least five different terrorist groups, but nobody termed it terrorism.

None of these attacks including the daredevil strike on NALCO plant in which 11 security personnel were killed, was shown on TV. Footage was rare and not repeated. There was no talk about modules, identity of those involved and that how they get the weapons.

Believe me, had any of these attacks involved a Muslim, it would have been termed a Terrorist attack and for days, we would have been shown images of 'trained Muslim youths', their links, cell phone records, the masterminds, the names of obscure organisations with Arabic names and what not.

I would request you to just have a look at the frequency of attacks mentioned below:

1. 11 CISF personnel gunned down in Naxal attack on NALCO bauxite mine in Orissa (April 13) [Link courtesy The Hindu]
2. Landmine blast kills 7 including five para-military force personnel and two passengers in Jharkhand, 12 others killed by Maoists in Bihar, Orissa and Maharashtra (April 16)
3. 1 killed, 18 injured as Barak Valley Express targeted by Jewel Garlosa militant group in Assam (April 9) [Link courtesy BBC]
4. Two killed, dozen injured in attack on goods train in Assam (April 10) [Link]
5. ULFA targets Kamrup Express, two blasts on railway track (April 13)
6. CRPF DG's chopper fired by suspected Maoists
7. Dima Halam Daoga group kills 7 including 6 policemen [Link]
8. Naxalites hijack train, hold 300 passengers hostage (April 22)
9. Convoy of 25 vehicles of Bodo leaders attacked by NDFB militants in Kokarajhar, three killed

Read the newspapers reports and you will find that the word terrorism was never used. Even the word militants was not used. Just like LTTE remains Tigers or Tamil rebels, the Naxals were called Maoists or left-wing extremists and the Assam groups termed as ULFA separatists or outlawed factions.

How many of us have heard the name of Black Widow group that killed seven persons North Cachar district? Headlines read, 'Cops killed in fresh violence in Assam'. The news items are put in inside pages and the word terrorism is nowhere to be found.

Assam is far away. It may be said that the death of Inspector MC Sharma gets coverage because, it happened in Delhi and the six or eleven who die, don't get a mention anywhere because it happens in rural areas.

The same Assam has witnessed serial bomb blasts thrice in four months but this was ignored. However, once when it was believed that a Muslim-sounding group was involved, it had suddenly forced anchors in Delhi to sit up and call retired guests from intelligence agencies to discuss it with all seriousness for at least an hour. Neither photographs of suspects were flashed nor there were followup reports on television channels.

It's not my persecution complex. Hold your hand on your heart and tell me, why the above mentioned incidents don't fall in the category of terrorism. Any Indian Muslim would feel bitter about this media myopia.

One incident involving a Muslim's arrest on mere suspicion, leads to a frenzy across the country and he is not termed suspect or accused, but directly called terrorist without having the case even reach the court.

But groups that are involved in terrorism, if they don't have Muslim cadre, are kept out of the definition of terror. Still, one can hear the campaign to spread the word 'All Muslims are not terrorists but...'

Tell a lie a few times and it becomes truth. Repeat it every day and the most sensible guys begin to believe it universally. Even Muslims are often feeling what's wrong with them. Hysteria is created everytime on TV when a Muslim is caught and the other incidents fail to find mention, or don't have any TRP?

This is something very fishy. I hate conspiracy theories but tell me why there is such a serious distinction. It seems more than United States of America, it is we who have been blinded by the so-called War on Terrorism that was launched to further America's interests. All forms of terror has to be condemned and treated equally.

More than politicians, bureaucrats and media, it is the Muslim community that itself is to be blamed. They have failed to raise the issue rationally and logically. They are hurt and angry but they don't protest properly, by approaching the news channels and take legal ways to fight this malaise, which is causing a deep crisis for Indian Muslims and the image of Islam.

This sort of defamation is truly discriminatory and is hurting everybody. The bombardment of news from persons with either biased minds or skewed vision, is causing a serious damage to all of us.

AK 47 and other assault rifles were recovered from them also but this doesn't find mention. When Naxalites tie huge explosives on their belt or fire at a DGP's chopper, it should be no less an explosive story, as other incidents. Unfortunately it's not the case.

I have long back stopped arguing why terms like 'Muslim terrorism' are used. I am told by bumpkins that because the militants claim that they are following Islam. So does every criminal who claims that he did the right thing. Entire Muslim clergy in India has termed them as terrorists and issued fatwas against them.

Even Naxals have an ideology and claim that they are doing justice. Anyway. I simply want to say that if you call a suspect, terrorist, just because he is a Muslim, you should also call a terrorist who has gunned down many, a terrorist. By calling him a rebel, you are turning him into a hero.

If you call him 'rebel', it is too serious and beyond my limited comprehension. More than bureaucracy, politicians, media and other sections, it is educated Muslims who have failed to raise the issue properly and ask for fair portrayal. [Photograph shows passengers coming out of the train that was hijacked by Naxalites, after they were released]

I think we really ought to have a national debate on terrorism.

Read over a dozen earlier posts on this blog on Terrorism.