Suresh Bhat Bakrabail – Terrorism and Failure to call a spade a spade

The Oxford Dictionary (2011) defines terrorism as ‘the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the attempt to achieve political aims’. However, it is distressing to note that a lead article headlined “The many and different faces of terror” and written by Mr M.K.Narayanan (former National Security Adviser) in The Hindu dated 3 April, 2019, focuses just on one aspect of terrorism and thereby completely fails in its purported object of showing the readers the various faces of terror.

Mr. Narayanan’s piece appears to be suffering from an extremely short-sighted and biased approach towards terrorism. While he rattles endlessly on the subject of radical Islamist extremism he has nothing to say on radical ‘white supremacist’ extremism, radical Hindutva extremism, radical Maoist extremism etc, all of which fit into the category of terrorism according to the above definition. In equating terrorism with only Islamic terrorism Mr. Narayanan is perhaps blindly following the Islamophobic model of USA. It is common knowledge that the USA supported by the Saudi regime has been responsible for spawning terrorist groups such as the Al-Qaeda to suit its global designs. It is also believed that the US military industrial complex’s survival and growth are dependent on the continued acts of terrorism committed by militant groups like the Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

It needs to be emphasized again and again that the various acts of racist violence perpetrated by supremacist groups such as the Alt-Right, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, and our own Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are nothing but terrorist acts. But sadly we find a majority of Western and Indian mainstream media taking a blinkered view of the subject and equating terrorism with only Islamist terrorism. Mr Narayanan too needs to take off his blinkers to see things in their proper perspective – that there is a common thread of hate running between David Copeland of UK who killed three persons in 1999 with his “Nail Bombs”, Anders Behring Breivik who massacred 77 persons at Utoeya island in Norway in 2011, Gianluca Casseri of Italy who killed 2 Senegal traders at Florence in 2011, Wade Michael Page who rained bullets on a Sikh Gurudwara in Wisconsin US and killed 7 persons in 2012 and Brenton Tarrant who exterminated 50 persons in New Zealand recently. All these killers and many others are believed to be loosely linked to the global neo-Nazi movement which today calls itself the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right gave exceedingly vocal support to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and in turn was rewarded with several administrative posts in the Trump government.

The Alt-Right & RSS

Reportedly the Indian far right extremist group RSS is also a part of the Alt-Right and they keep in touch mainly through the Net. It is definitely not a coincidence that one of the Sangh Parivar outfits celebrated when Donald Trump became the president of USA. Pieter Friedrich in his article ‘From Christchurch to India: How India’s RSS Inspires White Nationalist Violence in World’, tells us that in 2009 John Morgan and Swedish white nationalist Daniel Friberg founded a media firm known as Arktos Media based in Budapest. John Morgan became its Editor-in-Chief. Arktos, which claims to represent the European New Right or Alt-Right, has published approximately 200 titles. Interestingly the company’s base of operations, from 2010 to 2014, was India. Pieter claims that the Alt-Right has been influenced by the RSS and its ideology. But actually the founding fathers of RSS drew their inspiration from and were heavily influenced by Fascism and Nazism. Dr B.S. Moonje, one of the co-founders of RSS had visited Italy in 1931 and met Il Duce (Benito Mussolini) at the Palazzo Venezia. Dr Moonje had closely studied the workings of Mussolini’s fascist repressive youth brigades such as the ‘Black Shirts’, Balilla, Avanguardista etc. After he returned to India he gave an interview to the Maratha newspaper in which he praised those youth movements of Italy and said they needed to be adopted in India. We all know that in later years the RSS did establish its own youth movements which today have become a serious menace to civilized society.

Friberg reveals some very, very significant information on the links between Alt-Right and RSS. He states that in October 2013, Arktos reported that Friberg and the company’s Chief Marketing Officer “paid the Hindu Traditional-Conservative party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) an official visit.” They met with the then Karnataka State BJP General Secretary Arvind Limbavali and Organizing Secretary B.L. Santhosh (who later joined the national party leadership). “Topics discussed included similarities and possibilities of cooperation between traditionalist and conservative movements in Europe and Asia,” reported Arktos. They also talked about “future book projects.”

Saffron Terror

Mr Narayanan who once occupied the crucial post of National Security Adviser, surely must be aware (though he may not admit it) that the Sangh Parivar has been responsible for innumerable acts of saffron terror in India. He must also be in the know of the fact that in 2005, the U.S. State Department had named the RSS as an “extremist” group “implicated in incidents of violence and discrimination against Christians and Muslims.” To recount a few incidents: In 1947 RSS cadres participated in ethnic cleansing of up to 100,000 Muslims in Kashmir just two weeks before control of the region was ceded to the newly-formed Republic of India. Then came the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi followed by dozens of communal riots, the Babri Masjid demolition, the Mumbai Riots, Samjhauta Express blast, Ajmer Darga blast, Mecca Masjid blast, Malegaon blasts, the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, the 2008 church attacks, assassinations such as that of Pastor Graham Staines and the recent cold-blooded murders of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Phansare, M.M. Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh, Mohammed Akhlaq, Ghulam Mohammed, Azhar Khan, Pehlu Khan, Zainul Ansari………….. The list is sickeningly long.

It is a great shame that a majority of Indian mainstream media and a number of officials in the most sensitive and responsible positions seem to wear coloured glasses and steadfastly refuse to call a spade a spade. They continue to turn a blind eye to the racist hate crimes of the Sangh Parivar such as Dalit and Minority-bashing, mob lynching, moral policing, bomb blasts etc etc and decline to name them as terrorist acts. Is it then any wonder that many innocent Indian minorities and Dalits are made to spend several years in prison on trumped-up charges while the saffron brigade manages to get away with its terror attacks? In this context it is perhaps worth recalling that the committee that gave a clean chit to Narendra Modi in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom case, during which nearly two thousand five hundred persons were slaughtered, was headed by Mr Narayanan.