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Towards a secular India

The media in our neighbourhood has got another chance to question the secular credentials of India post Malegaon blasts, writes Saif Khalid.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2006 15:28 IST

"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: Stop participating in it".

- Noam Chomsky

Chomsky's sagacious words sound easier said than done. The scourge of terrorism is not a modern day phenomenon.

Violence as a means to achieve goals has always been the favourite weapon of disgruntled/misguided elements of almost every society for centuries.

But the threat of terrorism in the 21st century has acquired a different dimension altogether.

The technological innovation in information dissemination and logistics has given rise to what we many experts call 'outsourcing of terror'.

Unfortunately, India has been one of the first victims of this new phase of terror, which recognises no boundaries, has unleashed bloodshed and violence.

Jammu and Kashmir has long been at the receiving end of the ideology of violence. But seeing not much success in their quest for secession, the terrorists in J&K under the patronage of Pakistan started attacking on various Indian cities - Mumbai having been the worst affected.

The attack on Akshardham temple (Ahmedabad), Sankat Mochan (Varanasi), Jama Masjid (Delhi), Mumbai train blasts and now in Malegaon mosque points towards a set pattern - an attack to foment communal trouble.

The above attacks, which killed hundreds of innocent Indians belonging to all faiths, were summarily rejected.

The peace and communal amity in the aftermath of these blasts once again proved the pluralist and secular ethos ingrained in the common Indians.

The Malegaon bomb blasts were amajor attack on the Muslim community, both in terms of its intensity and casualty.

The way civil society and police officials handled the situation is commendable. The union government as well the state government tried its level best to maintain peace and amity and launched a vigorous campaign to nab the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

On predictable lines, the media in our neighbouring countries, instead, got an occasion to browbeat and question the secular credentials of India.

The Dhaka based English daily The New Nation was acerbic in its comment and showed extreme cynicism in reacting to the blasts.

It writes, "Secular India is a big lie. The Indian leaders preach secularism only to hide their hatred for the minority communities."

Blaming the Hindu extremists for the ills of the minorities in general and Muslims in particular is a rather simplistic analysis of a complicated socio-economic problem.

And India as a modern, pluralistic and democratic nation is capable enough to correct whatever anomalies exists in our society.

Compared to the Bangladeshi media, the media in Pakistan is less scathing in its attack, though it also leaves no occasion to badger the Indian state for the plight of Muslims.

The Daily Times points fingers on the Hindu extremists for the blasts and in its editorial writes, "Of course, any conclusive evidence will have to wait further investigations.

But it is significant that Mr Home Minister Shivraj Patil should have obliquely pointed to the involvement of Hindu militants."

Though, the daily recognises the scourge of terrorism but it sets aside the Indian charge that Pakistan sponsors terrorism.

It further says that injustices against Muslims are forcing them on the path of violence [sic].

The paper goes on to suggest, "There is need for a cooperative security framework between and among states on the one hand and efforts on the other by each to address those issues internally that are - or can likely to be - causes unrest and violence."

In a vein of sarcasm the daily writes, "Just as instability on its periphery (Pak) is bad for India's stability, instability at the centre - in India - is bad for the states on its periphery".

First Published: Oct 17, 2006 12:49 IST