All minorities in so-called shining and secular India are suffering at the hands of Hindu extremist organizations as well as the military and paramilitary forces. However, poor Muslims are the wrost sufferers that are being subjected to torment and harassment not only in Kashmir but also throughout India.
By Mohammad Jamil
Website TwoCircles.net has carried a woeful story about an Indian Muslim Mohammad Hanif who was tortured in police custody involving some third degree methods. He was asked by the police to name some rich Muslims who they could arrest on the pretext of being a terrorist and extract money from them. But when he refused to do so Assam police dubbed Mohammad Hanif as an ISI agent, and so far failed to provide evidence in this regard.
There is neither witness nor evidence against him, meaning that he has been framed and implicated. The reason for making him scapegoat is that he is poor, defenseless, vulnerable with relatives in Pakistan whom he had visited once, and above all an Indian Muslim – a deadly combination indeed. The story of Mohammad Hanif is the story of an innocent person being falsely implicated in a terror case, who during the course of court proceedings has become a pauper, and he can’t even afford a lawyer. He was picked up by the UP police on 13th July 2005 and told that he was an ISI agent, involved in taking out some ‘sensitive’ documents from the Army Camp, Tezpur, Assam to hand them over to Pakistani intelligence officers based in New Delhi. The case is pending since last 5 years, which has financially overstretched Hanif. Of course, Kashmiris are the worst sufferers, as seven hundred thousands troops are present in Indian Held Kashmir, and under their watch police and paramilitary forces continue to commit atrocities on them. Since 1989, more than 95000 Kashmiris have been martyred, scores of women have been raped and hundreds of youth have been apprehended or killed in fake encounters.
It is matter of routine for India that on every bomb blast or an act of terrorism in India, the fingers of accusation are pointed towards Pakistan and its linkage with Muslim organizations in India. Hundreds of innocent young boys are picked up and kept under illegal detentions. In addition to torture, arrests, harassment of their families, the families and victims are pressured into signing blank papers. In 2007, Indian agencies had accused Harkat-ul-Jehad-i-Islami activist alias Bilal of being involved in Samjhota blasts when two coaches were completely gutted. India often names Muslim organizations, which in fact do not exist. Anyhow, on the demand of Human Rights Watch and other non-governmental organizations the Indian government acknowledged that Hindu extremist organizations were behind the terrorists’ activities. In this age of information technology and media explosion, India could not hide the link between the army and the Hindu extremist organizations.
Whereas India continues with its policy of committing repression on its minorities especially Muslims, and also tries to extend its hegemony over its weaker neighbours through various means including exporting terror through its secret agency RAW, it blames Pakistan for pursuing terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who is likely to meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Thimphu on the margins of a SAARC Committee meeting, said: “Pakistan must turn away from using terror-induced coercion as an instrument of policy against India.” Delivering a speech at a seminar on ‘Asian Security Challenges’, she asserted that “the epicentre of global terrorism is located in our neighbourhood”. On one hand Indian leadership says it wants to resolve all disputes with Pakistan, but on the other, it continues with its propaganda blitz just to divert the attention of international community from its policy of repression. Of course, the US and the West turn a blind eye to human rights abuses in, what they say, largest democracy of the world.
India’s Republic Day, which is a few days away, has caused enormous difficulties for Muslims. Indian police and paramilitary personnel are subjecting bikers, passenger vehicles and private vehicles to thorough frisking across Indian Held Kashsmir for the last two weeks. Media reports said that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police personnel had been deployed in large numbers in all major towns including Kupwara, Handwara, Baramulla, Sopore and Bandipora. In addition at some places in these towns regular Army men have been stationed. The civilians are suffering immensely in view of tight security arrangements. “It took us more than 90 minutes to cover 20-kilometer distance from Handwara to Kupwara as the troops and policemen conducted thorough frisking of vehicle and passengers at least at four places. Apart from frisking, they also wasted time asking too many trivial questions,” said Mohammad Hussain of Handwara. Similar reports were received from Pulwama, Shopian, Islamabad and Kulgam towns of Indian Held Kashmir.
In order to divert attention from atrocities it perpetrates on the people of Kashmir, Indian RAW planned attacks on members of Pakistan’s security forces and suicide attacks killing innocent people. Three members of a militants’ gang especially deputed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan were arrested on 13th August 2008. During interrogation they disclosed that RAW funded suicide bomb attacks in Pakistan and that the Indian agency funneled millions through its links with the RAM – Afghan secret agency. They admitted that they were deputed to destabilise Pakistan in the name of ‘enforcement of shariah’ in the country. India has in fact devised the strategy to keep Pakistan engaged on the western border so that there is no pressure on it for resolving the Kashmir issue. In the first week of September 2008, English daily from Peshawar had in its report stated that an Afghan who was arrested by the local people in Kurram Agency revealed that Indian RAW agents were actively involved in the ongoing Taliban movement in FATA.
He told his name Paayow Gul Mengal and confirmed that he belonged to Paktia province of Afghanistan. Mengal said that he and his family received two thousand US dollars per month from one of the centres of Indian RAW in Paktia province. In March 2008, Pakistan’s caretaker interior minister in an interview to an Arab TV had alleged that the US, India and Afghanistan were involved in backing the terrorist outfits in Pakistan. Reportedly, Israelis had set up a School of Fiqha run by Hebrew University located in former Jaffa or Haifa, and after training and motivating persons of Indian and Pakistani origin sending them for ‘Tabligh’ with a ‘specific message’ to achieve their ulterior motives. India in collaboration with Afghan agency has also established ‘madaris’ in Afghanistan to create ‘misguided elements’ to operate in Pakistan on the pretext that Pakistan is helping the occupiers. There is credible evidence that the US in cahoots with India is also supporting Balochistan Liberation Army for the operations in Iran, and this is the reason that the BLA has not been declared a terrorist outfit in the US.
The writer is Lahore-based sernior journalist.