Date: 15 Jun 2008


We Need strong political will to combat ISLAMIST TERRORISM 
By R. Upadhyay 

(The views expressed are his own) 

Like all the earlier terror attacks in the country, Jaipur blasts also
ridiculed our political class particularly the ruling coalition that
is responsible for nation's security and protection of the lives of
its citizens. The dust raised by them in their blame-game pointing
finger at each other also settled down. By and large whenever there is
a terror attack, the ruling party condemns the terrorists for their
`cowardly' actions and brags that their evil design in dividing the
people on communal lines would never succeed. However, the terrorists,
while proving our political class wrong continue their preparation for
the next attack. They courageously faced the bullets of security
personnel only after killing some of them and are regarded as Islamic
martyrs in the history of the political mission of Islam. Regarding
widening divide between the two major religious communities, there is
no doubt that after every terror attack the widening gap of mistrust
between the two is increasing. Post-Godhra backlash in Gujarat was the
result of their success. Unfortunately, instead of developing some
effective mechanism for nation's security and protection of innocent
lives from the advancing wave of jihadi terrorism, political parties
exploit the national tragedy only for consolidating their vote bank. 

M. K. Narayanan, National Security Advisor and former Director,
Intelligence Bureau expressed his views time to time that hundreds of
sleeper cells of terror living in various Muslim localities in the
country are often activated by the terrorists. His statement which
must be based on some hard intelligence suggests that Muslim
localities are the fertile ground for settling of terror cells.
Narayanan however, did not point out the centres of the production of
these cells although he must be aware that the institutions teaching
the ideology like Islamist extremism and Taliban have been producing
thousands and thousands of these cells every year since Independence.
After passing out from the institutions which are known as madrasa,
the sleeper cells start living in Muslim localities. Now the question
arises – why Muslim localities are the fertile ground for the nursery
of sleeper cells? The answer lies in the history of Islam in India.
There is a widespread impression all over the world that the ideology
of radical Islamism is behind all the terror attacks. It is also said
that radical Islamists have divided the entire human race between
Momins (Followers of Islam) and Qafirs (infidels). They have also
divided the political world map between Darul Islam (The land of
Islamic political power) and Darul Harb (the land of war). At the same
time They have also defined the duty of the Momins either to convert
the Qafirs to Islam or to kill them and to establish Darul Islam in
Darul Harb through jihad (Holy war). 

It is a known fact of Indian history that Islam entered into this
sub-continent not as a spiritual mission but as a political conquest.
Right from Mohammad bin Qasim in 712 A.D. to Babar in 1526 all the
Muslim invaders used Islam only as a slogan for power–seeking mission
and established their rule by killing thousands of innocent people,
distributed the hapless captive women among the Islamic warriors and
enslaved the men as permanent unpaid servants. 

So long India was under Muslim rule it was Darul Islam but after its
collapse it became Darul Harb. Since Momins were duty bound to restore
Darul Islam in India after the sliding decline of Muslim rule and its
subsequent end rule in the sub-continent, all the Islamists from Shah
Waliullah to Mohammad Ali Jinna launched a movement for restoration of
Muslim rule by using Islam as a war cry. In between, all the Islamic
institutions/organisations propagated the ideology that `Islam is the
only solution', `Islam lies in the glorious past' and `Islam is in
danger'. With mass support of the Muslims, the Islamists succeeded in
separation of a geographical territory from this Darul Harb and
created Darul Islam named as Pakistan. Those who stayed back in
amputated India however, were not comfortable in the new democratic
polity as it was not Darul Islam. Therefore, taking advantage of the
new political environment they revived their movement through madrasa
education to Muslim proletariats, produced sleeper cells and carried
forward the legacy of the same power-seeking mission of their
predecessors. After coming out of madrasas these semi-employed and
under employed youths settled in various Muslim localities as sleeper
cells and became permanent assets for the cause of Islam. The
terrorists while spotting the required number of talents activate them
for use in terror attacks. 

The Islamist terrorism as we see today was initially sponsored jointly
by USA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in late seventies of the last
century to meet their respective strategic interest in defeating
Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Islamist establishments from all over the
world supported the move and transported a sizeable number of jehadis
to fight against Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the name of Islam.
However, after the withdrawal of Soviet Union, Pakistan with a view to
meet its own strategic interest exported these jobless jehadi genies
to India under the command of ISI. Indian Islamists on the other hand
worked as agents of Pakistan in activating the sleeper cells already
settled in Muslim localities. 

It is a known fact of contemporary history that Pakistan, an immediate
neighbour and born enemy has been exporting terrorism to India as a
part of its national strategy of `thousand year war' against the
latter.. From Liyaqat Ali to Musharraf, Indian leadership were
befooled in dialogues and dialogues and in between India had to face
three major wars sacrificing thousands of its soldiers. It is now
engaged in proxy war of terrorism by activating the sleeper cells and
instead of any tough action against it Indian leadership believes only
in reaction by issuing routine statements. 

Since Islamist terrorism is linked to the political struggle for
restoration of the institution of Khilafat, the jehadis had no problem
in penetrating into India where Ulema had already launched a
protracted movement for the same goal of converting it into Darul
Islam and have been dictating the direction of hard-line Islam to
their community members for over last 150 years. Mullhas are therefore
not opening their mouth against any terror attack. They broke their
long silence against terrorism for the first time by organising
anti-terrorism conference at Darul Uloom Deoband only on last February
25 but did not utter a single word against Osama bin Laden, the main
surviving leader of terror world. As expected, their criticism of
terrorism had no effect on the jehadi genies and Jaipur blast within
two months of the conference proved it. Genies are already out of
bottle and it is difficult if not impossible for their creators to
bring them back in the bottle. Terrorists have in fact issued warning
to the Ulema for their criticism of terrorism. 

Why did the Government fail to neutralize the breeding of sleeper
cells is another question. There is a saying that it is easy to wake
up a sleeping person but very difficult to wake up a person who
pretends sleeping. Similar is the case with our political class in
tackling the problem of terror attacks in the country. They understand
the problem which is the pre-requisite of finding a solution. They are
fully aware of the solution to the unhindered growth of Islamist
terrorism but they lack political will. Are they not aware that after
9/11 there was not a single terror attack in USA? Ironically, in India
even after terror attack on Parliament House, the country's leadership
allowed the repeat of terror attacks in different parts of the
country. This proves that the Government is not serious for any hard
action against the terrorists. Publicly declared `Muslim first policy'
of the Prime Minister, indefinite delay in execution of a dreaded
terrorist like Afzal who was involved in parliament house attack even
after the very clear verdict of Supreme Court, Union Home Minister
Shivraj Patil's statement defending the delay on the plea that how an
Indian prisoner Sarvajeet in Pakistan could be got released if demand
for execution of Afzal could be implemented, collective double-speak,
left dominated media and human right activists coming in defense of 
terror accused have not only emboldened the terrorists but also worked
as a covering fire for them in their fight against the Qafir-majority
state. After terror blasts in Jaipur, Rajasthan Chief Minister wanted
guidance from the centre for deportation of unauthorized Bangladesh
nationals in the state and got a reply to round them up and put them
in "Transit camp". 

Encouraged with the soft stand of the centre, apologists of Islamism
like Jamal Ansari, an academic and political commentator, Aligarh
Muslim University has defended the Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh
by pronouncing that "they have rights in India" (Pioneer dated May 25,
2008). Similarly some professors of Jamia Milia Islamia and others are
found propagating an amusing theory that the terror attacks of 9/11
were the outcome of the conspiracy hatched by the "Christians of
America and the Jews of Israel" (Ibid). Since there is no law in India
to tame such academics, they may even propagate that all the terror
attacks in India are the outcome of a conspiracy of Hindu nationalists
with the support of America. 

By and large the Muslim leaders and intelligentsia are found to be of
silent onlookers after terror attacks. They come out openly for the
rights of the community and organize aggressive demonstrations against
Danish cartoon of their Prophet but they have no time for expression
of similar anger over the jehadis, who cannot succeed in their
operation without local support. Is it not their duty under article 51
of constitution to take initiative in flushing out sleeper cells from
Muslim localities? 

Absence of nation-centric security policy, strong political will,
honest security agencies, honest media and honest co-operation from
people are the main reason behind the growth of Islamist terrorism in
India. Unfortunately, power-centric policy overriding the national
security priority has become the main ingredient of Indian politics.
For the vote-seeking political class national security and life of
people are not a priority. Their first priority is political power.
Accordingly, they are playing the politics of minoritism, which is a
safe and easy bait to attract the Muslim voters en bloc during
election. On the other hand taking advantage of this weakness of
political hawks, the Islamists nourished the sleeper cells without any
resistance from the `secular' government and nursed them into a
permanent asset for future jihad with a view to achieve their
objective to restore the institution of Khilafat and bring back
Islamic rule in this country. 

Constitutional ban on propagation of Islamism which has a direct or
indirect bearing on growth of terrorism, complete ban on funding from
any foreign countries for promotion of Islamism, fixing up
responsibility on the local leaders of Muslim localities to flush out
the sleeper cells, ban on divisive teachings in all religious
institutions, modification in Evidence Act by fixing the onus on the
suspects to prove their innocence in terror related cases, immediate
detection and deportation of unauthorized Bangladesh nationals, tough
law with special court for speedy trial of terror cases and sufficient
guard against misuse of anti-terror law could be some of the possible
measures, which could be applied for effective solution to terror
problem. Constitutionally protected special law for curbing terrorism
is the need of the hour but the ruling party will have to ensure
freedom to the agency in application of this law. With nation-first
policy without any distinction for minority or majority community
there should be no political interference in the working of the old or
new law and order machinery. Above all, strong political will without
linking it with vote bank politics is the only remedy to curb this
menace. Any remedial measure without strong political will to solve
the problem of terrorism will be a futile exercise. 

Now the Prime Minister has proposed for a federal investigating agency
exclusively to combat terrorism. It is however, rejected by the
opposition and some of the non-congress state governments. In fact
there is no harm in having an agency as suggested provided it is
allowed to work independently without any political interference. But
what is the guarantee that the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister
whose publicly declared policies will allow this federal agency to
flush out sleeper cells from Muslim localities? 

Islamist terrorism has maligned and defamed the Muslim community as a
whole and as such it is the responsibility of the Muslims and only
Muslims to take the lead in fighting this global menace without any
pre-condition if they really want to bring peace and stability in the
country. To prove that Islam is a religion of peace needs the lead
from the Muslim leaders only. 

(The Author can be reached at e-mail

Feeding a snake with milk increases its venom, no nectar is produced.

- Chanakya