Mumbai terror probe – silence of the conspirators
by Radha Rajan on 04 Dec 2008 5 Comments

There is a growing feeling among a small section of political commentators and the politically well-informed that there is a sinister silence in certain quarters of the media and Indian intelligentsia about core details of the Mumbai terror attack, even as the government undertakes a major cover-up operation and goes through the motions of conducting a hard-nosed investigation into the terror plot.

Almost as if to cover-up this silence, television channels are giving us an overdose of shrill women - socialites and film personalities, Bollywood's angry young and old men who saw in these TV discussions an opportunity to flaunt the secular credentials of the rich, famous and usually blasé Mumbaikar. These normally indifferent and bored rich Mumbaikars were shaken awake into the real world as jihadi terror, for the first time, made them victims of its malevolent attention. 

You did not hear them screech and throw a tantrum abusing politicians on earlier occasions when the ordinary Mumbaikar and ordinary Indian was targeted in local trains, in crowded bazaars, and in temples where you will not see Sharmila Tagore or Shobhaa De, Mahesh Bhatt or Arjun Rampal, Ratna Pathak Shah and Tom Alter, Aamir Khan or Subhashini Khan.

They are all screeching now because jihadis struck their party and pleasure dens; and while they are usually a non-caring and self-absorbed lot, disturbed by nationalism and the passion of ordinary mortals who have not been spoilt by money and fame, this class took the opportunity to make a few shrill noises about the virtues of the politics of minority-ism; they also indulged in nauseating binges of diatribe against politicians in general. The religious minorities among the rich and the famous, and those of mixed marriages, remained conspicuously silent about the culpability of the Congress Party for the terror attack, but had no inhibitions about haranguing the BJP for lesser sins. 

This group spoke about their insecurities, about their fears and anger, about politicians letting them down. But not one spoke about how this terror attack was an assault on the dignity of the nation, a violation of the sanctity of national borders, or how this was an attack on India's integrity and her self-identity. Not a word was uttered about concern for the nation, it was I, me, myself and my own all the way. While almost all of them waxed eloquent about safeguarding and protecting Christians and Muslims, no one was invited to speak for the Hindus. Barkha Dutt of course had a Muslim sitting prominently in her programme, and as usual she put her arms solicitously around the poor grieving man's shoulders. Simi Grewal's challenge that she would take people to show them localities in Mumbai, where inhabitants have raised the Pakistani flag all over, was exorcised the next day on the repeat show. The silence of the conspirators had begun.

The key to understanding how and why the terror attacks happened lies in the investigations into the Malegaon blasts and the character of Hemant Karkare, the chief of Maharashtra ATS; and it is on this issue that the silence of the media, the chatteratti, our verbose counter-terrorism experts, the Maharashtra Government and the UPA government in Delhi is most deafening. This resounding silence is a dead give-away that the really guilty have not resigned, have not been axed, and have not even been exposed. And that is why this silence is the silence of conspirators.

Hemant Karkare is dead allegedly while bravely fighting the terrorists, and so we may never know the truth. But we can connect the dots and the picture it makes causes grave disquiet. Some say he died of bullets to the chest, some say to the neck, some say bulletproof vests are useless against AK 47s and Kalashnikovs, while others say Karkare had removed his bulletproof vest and was killed when seated in his car.

Long before the Mumbai terror attack, I had expressed the view to two of my friends that the thrust of the investigations into the Malegaon blasts is not to find the accused guilty but to weaken any future BJP government's measures to deal with jihad, jihadis and religious conversion undertaken by Islam and the Church, and to question the government's motives. Whoever masterminded the investigations and was directing the ATS did not want any change in the public discourse on terror or on the issue of the basis of nationhood. The entire investigation had the following fall-out –

1) Bring disrepute to stringent laws like POTA by using a state law like the MCOCA against innocent Hindus, to demonstrate cynically and contemptuously to the RSS and the BJP that we have shown you how a law can be misused. 

2) Bring disrepute to narco-analysis by forcing Hindus to discredit the method because Hindus perceived it as being used against Hindus, to arrest them allegedly on the basis of what they 'confessed' under the influence of psychotropic drugs. 

3) Bring army intelligence agencies (Lt. Col. Purohit) into disrepute so that any action resulting from army intelligence against jihadis and jihad-sponsoring outfits and nations can be laid at the door of 'Hindu extremists' in the army. 

4) The resultant disrepute is that the Indian Army is communalised and anti-Muslim by nature. 

5) Label Hindu sadhus and sanyasis as terrorists so that any resistance from Hindu society to jihad and religious conversion may, in future, be labeled as acts of terror by "Sangh Parivar outfits". The national debate on Bangladeshi Muslims, the pan-national loyalty of all Muslims to the Ummah, and religious conversion, would thus conveniently acquire 'Hindu terror' dimensions. 

6) Undermine people's faith in all institutions and organizations wielding great moral authority and influence, and this includes our police and armed forces. 

To put it bluntly, the nature and direction of the Malegaon blasts investigation, which had become a witch-hunt for 'Hindu terrorists', was intended to weaken, defame and ultimately neutralise all centers of Hindu resistance to jihad and the evangelical church. The media has been reporting that Hemant Karkare died a very unhappy man. He is alleged to have expressed his deep unhappiness about 'political interference' into the Malegaon blasts investigations to two media persons of two English TV news channels. Karkare is also reported to have asked the then Maharashtra Home Minister R.R. Patil, on the very day he died, to be transferred out of the ATS. Such was his unhappiness.

We have it from one of the media persons who spoke to Karkare the day before he died that Karkare told him that over 90% of the ATS had been diverted into the Malegaon blasts probe. This witch-hunt for Hindu terrorists has all the hallmark of having been conceived in the mind of a strategist for the Congress party or it’s President, and who was probably himself/herself being manipulated by string-pullers located elsewhere. The questions and suspicions that come to our mind –

? The Times of India, dated 27 November 2008, page 11, reported that Hemant Karkare met the National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan in Delhi. 

? When the Prime Minister refused to accept the NSA's resignation in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack, a functionary in the PMO declared that the NSA is "not expected to micro-manage national security". 

? If that be so, why was the NSA taking such intense interest in the Malegaon blasts probe? 

? Why did the NSA summon the ATS chief Karkare to Delhi unless it was to seek an explanation as to why the ATS failed to get custody of Sadhvi Pragya and Lt. Col. Purohit in the MCOCA court? 

? Why was M.K. Narayanan so anxious to know why the accused Hindus will not continue to remain in ATS custody? 

? If Karkare had seven years of experience in R&AW, almost all of them overseas appointments, why was he removed from R&AW and appointed chief of ATS? 

? Who chose Karkare for the job and why was he chosen when he had little or no field experience in tackling terror in Mumbai? 

? If Karkare was unhappy about political interference in the Malegaon blasts probe, why did he not resign instead of submitting to lead the ATS on a wild-goose-chase? 

? If Karkare was heading the ATS, why did he not equip the ATS with battle-gear appropriate for fighting jihadis possessing sophisticated and contemporary arms, explosives and technology? After all, the city of Mumbai has always been the chosen target of jihadis, besides Hindu temples. 

? Why was Shivraj Patil made Home Minister and why was he not removed until the very end when the UPA is on its way out of Delhi 

? Who chose M.K. Narayanan as National Security Adviser when he had worked for the Ford Foundation funded American think-tank, Center for Security Analysis, just prior to his appointment? 

We get the sinking feeling that the FBI and the Scotland Yard are here to "take charge" of the investigations only to make sure that their readings of all evidence will not point to Pakistan. The US and the UK need Pakistan for more reasons than one and it is my conjecture that their conclusions are going to be different from those of Indian investigating agencies. And M.K. Narayanan has been retained as NSA probably because this government wants to make sure that the FBI and Scotland Yard are unhindered in their dubious mission.

The UPA government too does not want war with Pakistan, jihad, jihadis or the evangelical church. The silence about why India permitted the non-reciprocal measure of foreign investigating agencies to come to India to "assist in the investigations" is also mystifying. While the media is going after Vilasrao Deshmukh, Achutanandan, Ram Gopal Verma and Shivraj Patil, it has kept its hands off the NSA. Who is pulling the media strings?

It remains to be seen if the BJP will deal differently with jihad and whether the BJP will probe the investigations into the Mumbai terror investigations with regard to the role of the ATS under Hemant Karkare and the NSA in allowing it to happen. It also remains to be seen if the BJP will be as relentless in its mission as those that set off the ATS on the hunt for Hindu terrorists.

Shivraj Patil was the least guilty among them all. The guiltiest will be the person who chose these people for these posts. This nation's critical voices about the freedom movement and the INC have been intimidated and threatened to silence; we will not allow the government to silence voices which are questioning the motives of those who instigated and masterminded the Malegaon blasts probe which this writer believes was the single most important reason why the UPA government, the NSA and the Maharashtra ATS looked away from jihad, jihadis and jihadi outfits at home and across the border.

Pakistan is guilty, and guilty are the jihadis, but guiltier are those who abused their power to misuse state instruments for vested interests, endangering in the process the nation's borders and the security of its citizens.

The author is Editor

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