Friday, November 28, 2008


clipped from:

is likely to succeed in (what appears to be) its principle aim
  • a repressive response from the Indian state and
  • a communal reaction

The facts so far reported do point to some general conclusions
  • likely aims, and
  • possible culprits.

a claim of responsibility
  • 'Deccan Mujahideen', which could be related to the 'Indian Mujahideen' (IM), who in turn are alleged to be the latest incarnation of banned right-wing Islamist groups, the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

The former originated in Uttar Pradesh in 1977, inspired by the Iranian revolution, championing a Deobandi strain of Muslim revivalism.

The latter originated in Kashmir in 1990 and is, alongside the Jaish-e Mohammed, one of the larger Islamist groups operating in Pakistan. It has been associated with figures belonging to 'Al Qaeda'.

This is the basis for Indian intelligence claims that the violence of the IM is the result of ISI subventions across the subcontinent

two other dimensions are probably far more important:
  • domestic aspect of communal violence
  • global politics of the jihadis presumed to be involved.
targets suggests that the emphasis must be on the latter
  • Taj Mahal hotel, "a symbol of Western decadence", because of the rich tourists it attracts.
  • the train station attacked was a terminus busy with tourists
SIMI was originally the student wing of the Jama'at-i-Islami Hind (JIH), who expelled it on the basis of its ultra-radicalism (the JIH today work alongside the Indian communist parties against the BJP and Congress Party)

accelerating trends in communal violence over the last two decades
  • saw it gain members beyond its areas of strength in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, into some areas of the south.
banned several times
  • ban was a pretext for harrassing and terrorising Muslims in general,
  • police slaughtered protesters supporting SIMI's legalisation in Lucknow
  • massacre of 2,000 Muslims in the state of Gujarat, with the involvement of state officials including Narendra Modi, demonstrated that the Indian state was indeed on the war path against Muslims.
armed Hindutva groups were reportedly able to train and operate with impunity under the BJP.

LeT is a very different kind of organisation. It was funded from the start by the Pakistani state to facilitate its control over the Kashmiri struggle for independence,

Unlike SIMI in India, LeT has some real social weight in Pakistan - after the US bombing of Afghanistan in 1998, it mobilised 50,000 youths at a religious gathering near Lahore at which attendees vowed to avenge the attacks.

The signs point to them being a home-grown movement.

This means that any attempt to comprehend what is happening has to start with the Indian social structure, and particularly the position of Muslims in Indian society
Indian Muslims, comprising 13.5% of the population of India, are poor and disenfranchised: under-represented in most official organs, among the most exploited layers of society, and vulnerable to chauvanistic attack by Hindu nationalists

The rise of atrocious Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) throughout the 1990s reflected the growth of communal politics that was due to a number of factors
  • Demographically, Muslims were a faster growing
  • ascribed to illegal migration by refugees from Bangladesh
  • The rise of Islamist politics amid the disintegration of Congress hegemony
  • Dalit party sought to build a coalition between Muslims and low caste blocs.
Hindutva politicians and activists successfully exploited these changes to argue that the Muslim population was a surging menace

The BJP's rapid ascent helped to accelerate the rise of communal violence
  • had at its core another organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, known for its fascistic tendencies
  • the demolition of the Babar mosque in Ayodhya, in 1992, an attack on a symbol representing the integration and acceptance of Muslims
  • it incited pogroms against Muslims in Bombay/Mumbai in 1993
far right BJP ally Shiv Sena

which changed Bombay's name to its Marathi name, Mumbai, in 1995

The BJP are the most vicious exponents of communal politics

the Indian ruling class wasn't ready for that level of repression and instability

Every filthy reactionary and pogromist will be strengthened, while the more violent jihadi groups will probably expand under a wave of state terror and communal violence.

The only hope is in the Left
  • defending Muslims from the inevitable resurgence of anti-Muslim hatred, while opposing the politics of the jihadis.
  • The hypocritical policy of banning Islamist groups over allegations of terrorism while tolerating and even encouraging violent Hindutva groups has to be opposed.
  • Those who try to mount pogroms have to be fought in the streets.
  • Any escalation of the struggle with Pakistan also has to be opposed

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