You have read about this “hit-man” in NewsBred this week itself. Mr Harsh Mander is forcing upon a discussion on himself again with his column in Hindustan Times (March 16, 2016).
The thrust of Mander’s argument is that terrorists and those who cause communal riots must be treated as guilty of similar crime. Both spread panic, if not divisions in the society.
The second point he makes at the fag end of his piece is that most communal riots in independent India have been caused by Hindus—by inference they must thus also be treated as terrorists.
It’s a long and rather boring piece but you kept up with his terrorists vs communal rioters theme for hundreds of words, knowing that the thrust of his “bite” would make an appearance at some stage. Presto, lo and behold, right at the end of his piece he did drop his guard: “A majority of those charged with terror crimes are religious minorities. While a majority of those charged with communal crimes are from the majority Hindu community, its victims are mostly religious minorities…”
Mander’s entire premise is wrong. Terrorists and communal rioters aren’t the same thing he believes them to be. Terrorists take innocent lives without any provocation. Communal rioters take innocent lives at a perceived provocation. A community has hurt your religious feelings and say raped your women—it thus must be avenged with. A terrorist who drops a bomb in a mall or blows up a train has no such specific provocation.
There is another distinction: communal riots are largely local in character. Terrorism is a global phenomenon. If men from Algeria cause killings in Paris, it isn’t because they don’t like the lovers at the bridge on river Seine which they cross everyday on way to work.
Terrorism is also often cold-blooded—and planned months in advance. Communal riots are usually a burst of emotional upheavals which mostly finish in a week or two.
Communal riots are also done in open daylights. There is no effort to hide their identity. Terrorists, on the other hand, have a very different persona. Try to provoke the image of a terrorist and a communal rioter in your mind and you would immediately spot the difference.
Besides, you won’t find a terrorist using lathis, knives or swords in trying to strike down their target. They, at the minimum, use a sophisticated guns and bombs, if not surface-to-air missiles to go after their objects.
Terrorists are also massively funded and have training camps to be readied for their mission. Communal riots could also be engineered—but to say that it’s a cold-blooded and carefully planned is stretching the comparison too far.
This brings us to Mander’s second assertion: that Hindus largely cause communal riots on religious minorities.
Before we go into the “Hindu bit,” Mander must be told that communal riots have drastically declined under the Modi government in the last two years.
Mander’s claim that Hindu cause majority of communal riots on religious minority is also stupid. Hindus are not in majority in all the areas of this country. In Hyderabad for instance we learnt of an incident when ringing of bell in Sri Bhagyalakshmi Temple in Char Minar area was banned a few years ago.
There are many areas in India where muslims are in a majority. When communal riots happen, it’s not Hindu “majority” who are behind communal riots on “religious minorities.” It’s rather the other way around.
That is not to say that Hindus are not guilty of communal excesses. There are always fringe elements who go over the boil and cause havoc. But to say that Hindus, by and large, are reason for communal riots in this country is mischievous. If anything, it’s part of “Anti-Hindu Agenda” presently sweeping the country.