The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been successful in curbing terrorism, though there have been some attacks in Jammu and Kashmir which can be attributed to the desperation of the terrorist outfits, thanks to the strong measures taken against them. This includes, giving a free hand to the Armed Forces and the police in counter-insurgency operations, arrests of separatists, banning terrorist outfits and the withdrawal of security for separatists.
Though the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is remembered for its many failures, the most damaging of them is the coinage of the term “Hindu terror”. This was done by a party that has always propagated appeasement politics. The sinister design of the Congress in coining this term is to create an artificial equivalence of Islamic State terror, which is a major threat in many parts of the world.
The purpose of inventing this term is to appease Muslims and to hurt the pride of the Hindu community. The BJP has maintained the stand that terrorism has no religion. The Congress, as the principal opposition party, has taken the dangerous route of communal politics.
The first Malegaon blast took place on September 8, 2006, the Mecca Masjid blast was on May 18, 2007, the Samjhauta Express bombings were on February 18, 2007. The second Malegaon blast happened on September 29, 2008. The UPA government had six to eight years to investigate these cases but it was not able to prosecute these successfully.
It is evident in each of the cases how shoddy and politically motivated investigation, the politics of appeasement and the desire for power eclipsed the needs of national security as far as the UPA was concerned.
In the 2006 Malegaon blast case, nine Muslim suspects were charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS). However, in 2011, after the Mumbai attack, the National Investigation Agency took over the case and filed a supplementary charge-sheet against the alleged Hindu activists, paving way for the release of all the Muslim accused.
In the Mecca Masjid blast, initially around 24 Muslims were picked up who allegedly receivied training in Pakistan, but all of them were later let off for lack of evidence. The probe was handed over to the CBI in 2010 and later on to the NIA in 2011. Finally, charge-sheet was filed by the NIA against 10 alleged Hindu activists.
In the Samjhauta blast of 2007, in spite of intelligence inputs being shared by the US of the proven links of one Arif Qasmani, a Pakistani national who had links with Pakistani terrorist organisations, the Congress government changed the course of investigation to implicate alleged Hindu terrorists, one of which was Srikant Purohit, a serving army officer who lost eight years and eight months of his life.
This also gave Pakistan an opportunity to point fingers at India and to dilute the Indian stand that Pakistan promotes terrorism in India.
The Bombay High Court, while granting bail to Pragya Thakur, has stated in its order dated of April 25, 2017: “Thus, in respect of above witnesses, apart from retraction and allegation of torture, their statements give two contradictory versions…In above facts and circumstances, in our considered opinion, if both the reports of ATS and NIA are considered conjointly, so far as the appellant is concerned, it cannot be said that there are reasonable grounds for believing that accusation made against her are prima facie true.”
The special NIA court at Namapally, Hyderabad, after examining over 200 witnesses delivered the final verdict in the Mecca Masjid blast case on April 16, 2018. The court, in its final verdict, acquitted the five alleged accused, including Aseemanand, for lack of evidence.
In the case of the Samjhauta Express case, the Supreme Court, while granting bail to the alleged accused Purohit, has held: “….Keeping in view the fact that NIA has submitted the supplementary charge-sheet which is at variance with the charge-sheet filed by the ATS and that the trial is likely to take a long time and the appellant has been in prison for about 8 years and 8 months, we are of the considered view that the appellant has made out a prima facie case for release on bail and we deem it appropriate to enlarge the appellant herein on bail.”
All citizens, not just Hindus, will hold the Congress to account for its communal and irresponsible behaviour in the ongoing elections. The electoral battle of Bhopal between Pragya Thakur and Digvijaya Singh will be one between the victim of a politically motivated investigation versus a person who coined the term “Hindu terror”.
Gaurav Bhatia is national spokesperson, Bharatiya Janata Party and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court
The views expressed are personal