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There's no reason to gloat

I do not know why the BJP is so surprised that Abu Jundal's home town should be Beed in Maharashtra --- it is also the home district of Gopinath Munde, the BJP's tallest leader from the state. Sujata Anandan writes.

columns Updated: Jun 27, 2012 17:11 IST

I do not know why the BJP is so surprised that Abu Jundal's home town should be Beed in Maharashtra--- it is also the home district of Gopinath Munde, the BJP's tallest leader from the state. The party should have known enough by now. Jundal was arrested on Monday by the Delhi Police for his role in the 26/11 attacks in Bombay. Most Indian terrorists, who have emerged on the scene after the 2002 Gujarat riots, have hailed from various districts of Marathwada, which was once under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and most of their acts have been centred on Maharshtra.

Mughal emperor Aurangazeb (who lies buried in Khuldabad, near Aurangabad, a city named after him) had camped in the region for a generation or more in his effort to decimate other Muslim kings of the Deccan. The Nizam had sided at various times with the French, the British or other Indian kings against Tipu Sultan, as home-grown a ruler as they could get in those days. But it was only Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the warrior king of the Marathas (regarded as a minor irritant by Aurangzeb in his larger goal of suppressing all other Muslim kingdoms in India) who had stood firmly against the emperor and prevented the complete Islamification of the region.

Post-Independence and the re-organisation of states, one could sense a lot of resentment among local Muslim boys at their reduced status: in keeping with the backwardness of Muslims everywhere, they found themselves with little role to play in the national mainstream. But not for nothing was the Deccan a region of kings and noblemen — their descendants continued to be among the privileged in this country. And, though much of their history and antecedents might have been lost over time, they continued to have a head start over others in independent India.

Not surprisingly then, Abdul Mateen, a toxicologist, with a job at a government medical college, who emerged as the face of Indian terrorism soon after the Gujarat riots, was a first class first graduate from a medical college in Bombay. He succeeded in roping in several Muslim engineers, chartered accountants and computer professionals to plant bombs all across Bombay, in revenge for the killings of Muslims in Gujarat. These professionals spoke better English than their lawyers, even guiding their advocates through arguments in the courts. Mateen was mainly responsible for catching the police out in the custodial death of Khwaja Younus, another terrorist from the region, jailed along with him for their roles in the 2003 Ghatkopar and other smaller home-grown blasts across Bombay.

They saw that Gujarati Muslims, far less educated and even less inspired by the motive to seek revenge, did not retaliate against the Gujarat government – so they set about targeting Bombay that they knew would receive more international notice than if they set off blasts in Ahmedabad or Baroda. However, their resentment had perhaps been building up over decades – they believed they had been rulers in the Deccan and had now been reduced to supplicants in every way in this country.

Marathwda, then, even when Munde was the state’s home minister, had become a hunting ground for the Indian Mujahideen and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Obviously, the BJP knew this well, for this is also the region from where saffron terrorism began in this country. Much before the 2006 Malegaon blasts, there was an accidental one in Nanded in the heart of Marathwada, due to some mishnadling by the bomb-makers. A narco-analysis of the accused was very revealing – they believed `Hindus’ would be treated like `hijras’ if they did not retaliate. That is precisely the sentiment of those Muslim men caught out in their own acts of terrorism -- they had even formed an organisation called `Muslims for Revenge against Gujarat’ after the 2002 massacres in that state.

Abu Jundal, then, who speaks English as well as any other reasonably educated Indian, and was guiding the 26/11 terrorists through their moves, is no exception. I believe his motivation has to be both historical and a retaliation against the Gujarat killings. So rather than gloat at the Maharashtra government’s discomfiture at Jundal’s origins, the BJP would do well to recall what preceded both 26/11 and the earlier 1993 serial blasts of Bombay.

Who was really responsible? Their answer should be blowing in the wind.

First Published: Jun 27, 2012 17:08 IST