Lesson one: cover up
By Humayun Gauhar, The Nation, December 6 2008
Yesterday was the 16th anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Mosque by Hindu fascists, egged on and led by L.K. Advani, the current leader of the Hindu fundamentalist BJP. Say a prayer for India.
Whoever it was that said that one can choose one's friends but not one's neighbours was spot on. The Indian neighbours that we are landed with need telling some home truths by way of lessons after their near-demented response to the Mumbai Mayhem.
Ask them: don't you think that there is a massive cover up going on? Else why would your commandos obliterate all chances of the militants' identities being discovered? They shot them through both eyes and obliterated their fingerprints because these, and DNA, can identify a person. Are your authorities trying to hide the fact that the militants were neither Pakistani nor Muslim but Hindu and Israeli? In subsequent articles I will give you Indian press clippings for every contention I make here. One would have thought that your government would be keen to discover the identities of these people. This was not mindless, but very clever brutality. Until one gets some logical reason for why this happened you cannot blame me for thinking that there is indeed a massive cover up in progress and that your prime minister and foreign minister rushed to finger Pakistan to divert public anger from itself. Without proof the latter told Condoleezza Rice that, "There is no doubt the terrorists were individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan." Condi to her credit replied that she would not "jump to any conclusions about who is responsible."
So here's some unsolicited advice, but before you see red at this "damn Muslim" from "puny little Pakistan" with the temerity to give you gratuitous advice and jump on my back, do read this once and then again the next day and then tear it up if you still want. When you are humiliated, don't react like a still colonised people. It's tiresome. You won independence, not after 90 years of slavery as we did, but after a millennium. During all this time you managed to retain your religious majority. That's quite an achievement, something to be proud of, though do acknowledge that if your Muslim rulers had "spread Islam by the sword" most of you would have been Muslims. So get over it and get over yourself and the false secular image that you have created of India and start dealing with the reality that you are citizens of 'Hindustan' - 'Land of the Hindus'. You will do yourself a great favour by publicly acknowledging this truth.
Putting the blame on Pakistan for anything and everything has become the standard operating procedure of your fanciful politicians. Is it to hide the fact that you have rampant homegrown militancy and freedom movements in your country? It doesn't work. You try and ethnically cleanse 150 million Muslims and then you are surprised when you get it in the neck? Is it revenge for centuries of Muslim rule? Get over it.
Don't ignore what I said last week: state terrorism begets non-state terrorism. You should honestly see the degree of state terrorism your country has indulged in, not just against Muslims but also against other minorities, Sikhs and Christians particularly, and the 'Untouchables'. You should also consider how much terrorism you have fomented in all your neighbouring countries.
I'm going to try and help you, Indian neighbours, to focus on the bizarre stories that I have been able to piece together from your newspapers and then ask you some questions to help you think logically. It goes something like this. Your intelligence agency intercepted a phone conversation that some "cargo" was soon to be delivered by ship from Karachi. It asked the Indian Navy and Coast Guard (who were involved in a joint exercise on - and perhaps also in - the Arabian Sea at the time to practice for just such an event) to intercept the boat. The militants hijacked a fishing trawler and, amazingly, managed to evade the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in full cry. Near I'm going to try and help you, Indian neighbours, to focus on the bizarre stories that I have been able to piece together from your newspapers and then ask you some questions to help you think logically. It goes something like this. Your intelligence agency intercepted a phone conversation that some "cargo" was soon to be delivered by ship from Karachi. It asked the Indian Navy and Coast Guard (who were involved in a joint exercise on - and perhaps also in - the Arabian Sea at the time to practice for just such an event) to intercept the boat. The militants hijacked a fishing trawler and, amazingly, managed Mumbai they boarded some rubber dinghies - the number varies from 2, 3, 6 and 7. One version has it that three rubber dinghies landed at a deserted beach near Mumbai and the militants waded and walked through marsh and tall reeds and took taxis to get to the city. A second says that one dinghy landed at a pier in the heart of Mumbai. Indian police at the pier saw them and said that they took taxis and went away. A third version says that people saw 6 to 7 dinghies land at Colaba beach near the Nariman Building which is Israeli owned and operated and only Jews can live there. Ten young men unload boxes and went into it. Were they Israelis? One Indian security officer who went in was shocked to see that they were white. We know that your and Israel's security forces have been in joint venture for years. Was it them, perhaps? A huge quantity of food had been purchased and was awaiting the militants before their arrival in the Nariman Building. Was it your commandos who killed the Jewish rabbi, his wife and other Israelis/Jews there to prevent them from talking? It is also suggested that the militants were connected to Somali pirates who wanted revenge from the Indian Navy for the killings of their fellow pirates earlier on the Arabian Seas. A senior naval officer of yours, however, has named the ship that was allegedly hijacked as M V Alpha. On enquiry it was found that it is a Panamanian flag carrier, not Pakistani, and its captain says that his vessel was never hijacked.
Do you really believe these cock and bull stories? This is not a James Bond thriller, unless living in 'Bollywood' has made you all live in a make-believe world. Tell me: is this not the height of incompetence or is there a massive cover up going on by your government?
There are so many holes in these stories. Onlookers remember the militants drinking beer just before the attacks. Would Muslims driven by religious zeal convinced that they are going to heaven drink alcohol before going to their deaths for crying out loud, even as a decoy? Not on your life. Initially Indian media said that some Britons of Pakistani origin were involved. Britain says that's not true. RAW says they had already warned your authorities of an imminent attack. The Americans say they warned them twice. Yet all these warnings went unheeded. Why? Was someone in cahoots with the militants? Were these people not Muslims at all?
The militants knew all the joints well, which means that they must have inside (Indian) help. They took days to stash arms and ammunition in the hotels. Were your guys asleep or in cahoots? Don't rule out the possibility that some of your army and intelligence people are involved with Hindu militant groups and MOSSAD to create open warfare between India's Muslims and Hindus and bring our countries to the brink? The Israelis would love even more than India to destroy Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and such incidents would 'justify' an attack, so why not engineer them?
Is it possible that while on the one hand Indian authorities are so incompetent that they couldn't prevent the attacks despite several warnings and on the other they could determine within hours that Pakistan was behind them? After Pakistanis were burned alive in the 'Friendship Express' India immediately blamed the ISI. It later transpired that a serving Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit of the Indian Army and a Hindu fascist group did it. So why should we believe you this time? India's Anti-Terrorist Squad official who discovered Purohit's involvement and was still investigating him was one of the first to be deliberately killed by your commandos. To get him out of the way, before he uncovered more embarrassing truths? That his wife blamed your government for her husband's murder and refused compensation is damning, what?
You guys always blame the ISI or its "rogue elements" or our army and some jihadi groups. Your government has given us the same old list of 20 that includes the Indian underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Our interior minister says India has given only 3 names: yet another Indian underworld don named Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim and Maulana Masood Azhar. Without even an extradition treaty, you want us to "hand over" these 20 to you, no questions asked, no evidence furnished. Give us some hard evidence and if there is are Pakistanis or Pakistani connections involved we'll fix their hash in Pakistan. You watch.
Why haven't you given us the SIM that was allegedly found on the captured militant? A SIM has a near endless story to tell and each number found has its own story. We'll trace them all. Lashkar-e-Taiba's objective is liberating Kashmir; you know the part occupied by you. Then why on earth would the Mumbai militants demand the liberation of Hyderabad, Deccan, and not Kashmir, if they were Lashkar-e-Taiba? It doesn't make sense.
Think, my Indian neighbours, think, if not for yours then at least for God's sake, before we are all vaporised and our issues become of interest only to historians.
The writer is a senior political analyst
This article is interesting because the author is the Ghost Writer of General Pervez Musharraf's book "In the line of fire", and a Geo-Political adviser to the current political Government.
More comments later.