Monday, September 29, 2008

Vidya Subramaniam on Terrorism and the Minorities

Vidya Subramaniam's op-ed on the terrorism issue summarizes many of the points commentators have been making in recent days. B.Raman has some similar thoughts in his Outlook piece today. Some of the questions she raises regarding the ongoing investigations are from Mail Today which has been running stories raising doubts about the version of events put out by the Delhi police. But she goes on to equate the Bajrang Dal with the terrorists:

More and more voices are also asking why the Bajrang Dal, which has a proven history of bomb-making, and which, in tandem with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has been on an orgy of murder and mayhem in State after State, cannot be banned.

The reply as Swapan Dasgupta has been quoted to have said is this:

...Equating the Bajrang Dal with SIMI is like comparing a water pistol to an AK-47. "Rioters," he says, "cannot be equated with terrorists. An individual who took part in the Bombay riots of 1992 may be a respectable citizen today while a terrorist is committed to undermining the sovereignty of the state."

I agree with that distinction even if I do not necessarily buy the analogy of the water pistol and the AK-47. In any case, the two are different and cannot be compared though the government has a similar obligation in both instances.

She then goes on to rhetorically pose the question:

...The aftermath of a bomb blast is an extraordinarily delicate moment given the very real suffering experienced by those at terror’s receiving end. For the journalist to raise even the faintest doubt when a terror case is projected to have been solved at such a time is to risk being called anti-national. The recent vigorous discourse in the media suggests that this burden may have been lifted. What explains this?

which she proceeds to answer:

Probably one significant realisation: that unvetted police claims can have the unwitting effect of tarring an entire community when only a minuscule section is involved in terrorism.

This assessment is shopworn and false. It is not the first time we are having a bomb blast or the police happen to be accusing Muslims. In all of the earlier instances as well, the same charge could have been made. Yet, the questioning of the police theory has been more intense this time around. The answer is in part owing to the proliferation of media sources. The other potential reason is the conflicting claims being made by police agencies from different states which casts doubts on their stories. Finally, the serial bombings in rapid succession raises the cost of error - with the wrong people in custody, the odds of more attacks only get more likely, something the media with its traditional skepticism of governmental competence is acutely aware of.

Lastly, she criticizes the BJP for questioning the legal aid pronounced by the VC of JMI:

To question Jamia Millia University Vice-Chancellor Mushirul Hasan’s offer of legal aid to terror suspects — as the Bharatiya Janata Party has done — is to strike at the presumption of innocence which is a sacred law of the land.

Wrong again. The question, as Andromeda pointed out in an earlier post, is whether they are entitled to legal counsel at public expense, not about their guilt or otherwise or even about whether they deserve representation (see this item on the controversy).


Dirt Digger said...

The human rights defense employed by Chindu for specific instances like these smacks of double standards.
They choose to ignore the following situations:
a. Kashmiri Pandits
b. Tibetians
c. Chinese muslims
d. Hindus in Pakistan/Bangladesh
e. Any non-Muslim/Christian minority
f. Any Hindus
Thanks for the double standards Chindu, people can find multiple uses of the newspaper beyond the crappy articles.

Anonymous said...

Why cant we take a leaf out of Mahatma Gandhi's freedom struggle and organise a boycott of 'The Chindu'? In which other country a mainstream news paper will dare carry out a prolonged, virulent Goebbelsian propaganda against the majority community. I believe that the owners of 'The Chindu' are getting plenty of money from china, church and islamic terrorists for the dirty work 'The Chindu' does for them.

Anonymous said...

After "successfully" reporting on the Gujarat elections, Vidya ben now tries her luck with terrorism.
Instead of wasting so much space she could have just mentioned that Bajrang is a monster and finish the article.

So, according to Vidya ben, universities like Jamia should not only admit and nurture terrorists but also plead their case in the courts when they are caught. So, that is the mission statement of minority-secular institutions. No wonder these terror breeding grounds count folks like Arjun Singh as their patron saints.

shrivathsa said...

pilid, i have mailed you on the mail ID you have posted on your blog profile. please reply to the same. you can delete this comment after having a look at the same.

Anonymous said...

Instead of leaning on others shoulders and taking cheapshots, it would be more mature for Chindu to state what is its own stated position in respect of defnding people accused of civil/ criminal offense. For example, Chindu could speak out of experience in its organisation. Will it agree to provide aid to defend an employee, if he is going to be accused for a murder or a rape or other heinous acts involving moral turpitude.

Let them state that they would create a fund towards legally protecting these employess until convicted as guilty. Let them have a civil and criminal lawyer on a retainer so that these employees are protected for these misdemeanors or offences.

AND let us see how many employees could desist from Assaulting people like Ram, Vidya, Khare Phure, Palvali and SV. If I were an employee and assured of legal aid for my misdemeanour, I would gladly commit some offense against these offensive beings.

abg said...

At a philosophical level Baring dal and SIMI are no different . No religion can ever be made free fanatics , may be that is the characteristics of religion itself . Problem is some where else -- in order to swim every savage fanatic needs a swamp created by the ardent believers of that religion, who may be benign , “peace loving ”other wise.
The swamp is just bigger in case of Muslims for various reasons. My hunch is indeed BHP can, would be as bad as SIMI if conditions provide.
It would be simplistic just to compare the body counts