‘The Wire’ tries to rationalise terrorism and whitewash the ghastly 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts

A recent article titled – ‘Past Continuous: 1993 Bombay Blasts Were in Response to an Entire Community Being Alienated’ published in ‘The Wire’ tries to rationalise the cause of 1993 Bombay serial blasts. If this logic is to be accepted, then anyone who feels politically alienated in India can go around planting bombs in metropolises and play the victim.

In an earlier article, we had argued as to how the secularists like Harsh Mander are the ones who believe in the two nation theory. They have perpetuated divisions within the society pitting caste against caste, religion against religion, sub-sect against sub-sect in order to retain their power and influence. In a motivated campaign, the liberal secular ecosystem is trying to perpetuate the myth that Muslims are politically alienated. Their language is strikingly similar to that of Jinnah. The writer of the article in ‘The Wire’, Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay falls in the same category of secularists.

The writer of the article says that the Bombay blasts cannot be seen in isolation. According to him, they have to be seen in the context of the Babri Masjid demolition. He writes :

The Bombay blasts cannot be viewed in isolation; they must be seen as part of a sequence of events beginning with the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. The mass public destruction of a disputed historical structure was followed by riots in various parts of the country.

However, the scale of violence in Bombay was wider, and its intensity greater. Violence raged in the megapolis for five days from December 6-10. Thereafter, dark days returned to the city for a fortnight from January 6-20, 1993. The city during these two phases was rocked by riots of unprecedented ferocity. The brunt was faced by Muslims of the city in January due to the controversial maha artis organised by the Shiv Sena with the intention of mobilising Hindus.

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If that is the logic we have to apply to every event in contemporary India, the Babri Masjid demolition should also not be viewed in isolation. The Babri Masjid issue became a movement only because Rajiv Gandhi opened the locks of the Ram Lalla in 1986.

Why did he open it? It is widely reported that he did it to pacify Hindus who had been angered by the reversal of Shah Bano verdict of the Supreme Court. This comment was made by none other than Rajiv Gandhi’s minister Arif Mohammed Khan, who resigned over the decision to reverse Shah Bano verdict. Once the temple was reopened, the sentiments attached to the structure grew. The demands to build a Ram temple, which was till then a local issue, became a national one.

So, who is to be blamed for the destruction of the disputed structure? One would have to point fingers at the Congress and Rajiv Gandhi, by the same logic.

Similarly, the 2002 Gujarat riots can also be rationalised by citing the brutal burning of Hindus alive in Godhra railway station. We are aware of the humongous effort put by the secular-liberal ecosystem to absolve Muslims of the crime and demonise Hindus alone in the aftermath. Does burning of Hindus justify riots and murder of innocent Muslims? No.

If one has to condemn violence/terrorism/vandalism, it has to be done without pre-conditions and footnotes. Otherwise, everyone can legitimise violence and terrorism.

The Wire adopts the strategy of pinching the baby and rocking the cradle in its article. While jumping from one paragraph to another, it shifts from political victimisation to delinking Muslim population from Bombay blasts. This comes alive in this part of the article.

Although everyone knew these rituals were organised with a political objective, officials and leaders in government opted to live in denial. Consequently, anger mounted among the Muslims in the city, especially among those who lived in its underbelly. When the opportunity came in the form of inducements, several Muslims were more than willing to become associates or partners in ‘retaliatory’ action.

Yet, the Bombay blasts were not purely an act of retribution for most of those who ‘worked’ on the ‘project’. There is little doubt that for Dawood Ibrahim and his gang, the ‘proposal’ and ISI involvement in it, provided an ‘opportunity’ to make forward movement when their empire in India was under threat. It must also be noted that many of the accused, officials and other facilitators, were not Muslims.

Here the article suggests that Muslims were ready to be partners in ‘retributive’ action. But in the very next line, it goes on to say that it was not ‘purely an act of retribution’. So which one is real? The reader is inclined to believe that the writer has the intentions of condoning the blast as a reprisal at a subconscious level. The most objectionable part of the article comes in the end. The writer says (emphasis added) :

With the rise of majoritarianism, this time with state patronage, there are more frequents “go to Pakistan” calls. The way to ‘respond’ to a changed attitude towards them was shown in 1993 by a handful of disillusioned Muslim youth whose grievance was given a violent thrust by elements in the underworld for who the executing the blasts was just another ‘business’.

It has been a quarter of a century since India has remained trapped in a continuing match of untiring boxers who never get drained out and continue fighting, although the arena has been collaterally damaged. Homegrown terrorism poses serious challenge and foreign forces cannot be accused of every act that seeks to destabilise India. The Bombay blasts have to be partially seen as response of an alienated and embittered community.

The phrase ‘foreign forces can’t be accused of every act that seeks to destabilise India’ seems to be pushing the reader to believe in either of these conclusions. Either the writer is admitting that a section of Muslims in India is Islamists or the politics of India is driving some to join terrorism. Either theory is unacceptable and dangerous. It is also reminiscent of Jinnah’s call for direct action where political questions were sought to be decided through mob violence.

There is, however, another aspect that is carefully tucked in the concluding lines. The attempts to exonerate Pakistan. When the author says “foreign forces cannot be accused of every act that seeks to destabilise India’, it is clear as day that he tries to alienate Pakistan from its atrocious crimes.

Perhaps the author needs to be reminded of the Supreme Court observations made on 21st March 2013. The Supreme Court had said :

“It is devastating to state that Pakistan being a member of the United Nations, whose primary object is to maintain international peace and security, has infringed the recognized principles under international law which obligate all states to prevent terrorist attacks emanating from their territory and inflicting injuries to other states.

This duty to prevent acts of terrorism stems from the basic principle of sovereignty, which entails both rights and obligations. Under the ‘Universal Neighbouring Principles’, it is well established that the rights of one state end where the territory of another state begins. An obvious source of this obligation lies in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which embodies the customary law of “prohibiting states from using or threatening to use force against another state”.

The court specifically said that training and material received from Pakistan led to the serial blasts in 1993 (emphasis added).

A careful reading of the confessional statements of convicted accused exposes that large number of accused including the absconders received training in making of bombs by using RDX and other explosives, handling of sophisticated automatic weapons like AK-56 Rifles and handling of hand grenades in Pakistan which was organized and methodically carried out by Dawood Ibrahim (AA), Anees Ibrahim, Mohd Dossa and Salim Bismillah Khan (since deceased).

The training received in Pakistan materialized in the unfortunate serial blasts in Bombay, India on 12th March 1993.  A responsible state owes an obligation not only to another state but also to the international community as a whole. We sincerely hope that every State will strive towards the same.

In ‘The Wire’ article, the author blatantly peddles a severely anti-India narrative that only plays with the national unity of the country, but also attempts to exonerate Pakistan, that has been proven guilty for the blasts by the highest Indian court. It is also extremely worrying that the leftist propaganda website ‘The Wire’ allowed this deeply misplaced article justifying terrorism be published without any sort of editorial vetting or quality control.

This propaganda needs to be countered actively and vociferously. Violence and terrorism cannot be defended on any grounds in any democracy.

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