By Sapan Kapoor:
The Congress party has always claimed that the BJP (Bhartiya Janta Party) is the biggest communal party of India and it’s the BJP that has communalized the Indian politics, starting from the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 to the Gujarat riots in 2002. Certainly the tragic events like the Gujarat riots do not add up well to the BJP’s resume and the Congress has every right to point fingers at it but the Congress party also does not consist of all saints. It has always had its share of villains and incidents that will continue to haunt it for a long time to come. The 1984 Sikh riots- that took place after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards- are still fresh in people’s minds. Around 3000 innocent people were been allegedlyÂ killed by the Congress party workers then. Does it prove secular credentials of the Congress?
I certainly don’t think so.
If we believe the revelations made by WikiLeaks, a whistle-blower organization, the then us ambassador to India, David Mulford, had messaged Washington in a secret cable suggesting that the Congress party had used the minority card post 26/11 attacks keeping in mind the general elections that were about to take place. (Source)
He wrote, “The Congress Party, after first distancing itself from the comments (of Antulay, the then minority affairs minister), two days later issued a contradictory statement which implicitly endorsed the conspiracy. During this time, Antulay’s completely unsubstantiated claims gained support in … Indian-Muslim community,” Mulford wrote in his secret cable to the State Department on December 23, 2008.
“Hoping to foster that support for upcoming national elections, the Congress Party cynically pulled back from its original dismissal and lent credence to the conspiracy.”
Despite of Home MinisterÂ P Chidambaram‘s dismissal of Antulay’s comments, the Indian-Muslim community “will continue to believe they are unfairly targeted by law enforcement and that those who investigate the truth are silenced.”
“The entire episode demonstrates that the Congress Party will readily stoop to the old caste/religious-based politics if it feels it is in its interest,” Mulford alleged.
His opinion about the Congress has confirmed what many in India had always feared, that it’s the Congress party which has been constantly stirring India communal pot since decades depending upon the situation it finds itself in. If the things don’t go the Congress way then it doesn’t even hesitate playing the communal politics even if it means going against the national interests. This is what the then US ambassador to India was also trying to suggest in his message to Washington.
For example the whole world knows what happened on 26/11. The whole world saw how ten Pakistani terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba came on a boat and killed 167 innocent people of India, including the late ATS chief Hemant Karkare. The lone survivor terrorist ‘Ajmal Amir Kasab’, who along with his companions, actually killed Karkare, is still in the custody and has been sentenced to death by the court. Moreover, if revelations made by ‘David Coleman Headly’ are to be believed then it was none other than the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence), the intelligence agency of Pakistan, which was involved in the attack on Mumbai from the beginning till the end.
Everything is crystal clear about 26/11 and its attackers but the Congress party sees something fishy in this too. The Congress party general secretary, Digvijay Singh, has created a political storm through his statement that late Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare had told him hours before 26/11 Mumbai attacks that his life was under threat from the ‘Hindu’ extremists. He said, “I had spoken to him three and a half hours…it was between 6 and 7pm on 26/11….I was very shocked when I came to know that he was killed.”
According to Digvijay Singh, Karkare faced a threat from those opposed to the Malegaon Blast investigations that he was conducting.
“When I called him he said, he was receiving some threat calls. He did not know who was calling. An article was published in a magazine linked to RSS against his son. It alleged that his son had got some Rs 50 crore contracts fromÂ Dubai while his son was just 17-years-old,” he further said.
The Congress party has disassociated itself from these statements by Mr. Singh.
Was he sleeping all of the two years since 26/11? Why didn’t he make public such an important revelation all these years?
Though he, through his remarks, is not saying directly that Karkare was actually killed by the Hindu extremists instead of Ajmal Kasab, but if we read between the lines, he is indirectly suggesting nothing but this conspiracy theory.
His statement has not only irked the opposition party the BJP, which has termed it as nothing but an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing corruption investigations; but also ex-ATS chief’s widow Kavita Karkare. (Source)
She has outrightly rejected his statement by saying that the politics on her dead husband must stop now and this will help nobody but Pakistan.Â She said in Mumbai, “Vote-bank politics is behind all these comments.”
But we should not be surprised by his statement at this point in time when the Congress finds itself cornered in the Parliament and in the media due to corruption allegation on its ruling government. We should rather try to understand why he had to make this rubbish claim at this juncture.
The opposition is adamant in demanding the JPC (Joint Parliamentary Committee) in the 2G spectrum allocation corruption scam- which according to the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) report led to approximately a loss of 1.76 lakh crore of tax payer’s money to the government of India. The opposition parties don’t believe in the credibility of CBI led investigation and this is why they want a JPC inquiry in this matter but still the Congress is not willing to give in to the genuine demands of the opposition parties.
The Congress party has found itself in a tight corner with little room to escape by the opposition that has certainly got loads of ammunition to attack in the form of Commonwealth Games corruption scam, the Adarsh society scam and last but not the least the great 2G spectrum scam. They have even threatened to continue their opposition until their demand of the JPC is not met by the ruling party. If things were to be continued in this fashion then there are high chances of the upcoming Budget session getting washed out too.
The dismal performance of the Congress in the recently held Bihar state elections– where it managed to get only 5 seats- has made the matter worse for them.
Considering all these factors, it’s the Congress that has more reasons now than the BJP to keep the communal pot of India ‘boiling’.
Now how could the Congress get out of this serious trouble?
Digvijay Singh tried to achieve two things in one shot. He not only tried to deflect the attention from the ongoing publicity of corruption scams and tried to provide some relief to his ‘tainted’ Congress party but also tried to play his large minority constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
It’s pity that on the serious issue such as 26/11 Mumbai attacks, where we all need to show a sense of unity to confront the external aggression; the Congress party’s senior representative has decided to play cheap vote bank politics. They should be ashamed of this shameful act of demeaning the sacrifices of the martyrs of 26/11- including that of Hemant Karkare.
I was there in Mumbai during 26/11 and I was a witness to the unity shown by both the Hindus and Muslims of Mumbai during that hour of crisis. I had also attended the protest rally that was organized on 3rd December 2008- soon after the attacks. Around 20,000 people, mostly the young ones, had gathered outside the Taj Hotel- without any invitation- to show their solidarity for those who died in that horrific attack.
Their conspicuous anger had forced the politicians of Mumbai to lock themselves up in their homes. They did not dare to come out to face the public.
How long are these politicians going to exploit the feelings and emotions of the people of India? And most importantly for how long we, the people of India, are going to let them do so?Â How big a fool is the common man?Â It’s high time the people of India realized and asked the big question.
Who is communal, we or them?
The writer is a Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz. A freelance journalist, with interests ranging from serious socio-political issues to sports and culture, Sapan still clings to the belief that the pen is mightier than the sword.