While America’s media is busy in demonizing Pakistan, and the CIA focuses on pushing already beleaguered US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq into a new war with Pakistan, India continues to escape the glare of the American/British media.
Neatly tucked under the well-constructed facade of ‘Shining India’ is a hot new story. One is talking here of the rapid rise of religious terrorist organizations that have penetrated India’s military and politics. The movement is so strong, resourceful and organized that it warrants the label of being called India’s Al Qaeda.
The arrest last week of a serving Indian army colonel, who along with some other officers allegedly transferred military funds, material and training to terrorist groups, is something that should not escape the attention of India’s neighbours, especially since it is directly linked to New Delhi’s desire for serving, on America’s behalf, as a regional policeman.
One more reason to closely watch what’s happening in India is that there is some evidence that parts of the Indian government are busy reading CIA’s Latin America handbook of patronizing client militias and using them for strategic objectives. In India’s case, this means Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and most importantly Pakistan and China.
The changes taking place in India are truly breathtaking. It is the only major civilization in the region that never expanded beyond its natural borders. That’s why it is important to understand that the new rise of Hindu militancy has everything to do with India’s new interest in becoming a superpower. The world’s first religion-based genocide in the 21st century occurred in India, where in 2002 over 2,000 Muslims were burned alive in rioting by Hindu groups, with the passive help of an elected regional government.
While CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden was accusing Pakistan over the weekend of becoming the hub of all terrorism in the world, a European newspaper published the chilling story of an Indian priest who escaped death and recounted to his audience how India’s Hindu terrorist organizations burned ordinary Christians alive and raped nuns on the streets of Orrissa in east India in August.
Pakistan gets a lot of bad press mainly from the American and the British media for religious extremism. Certainly we have a problem and we’re dealing with it. But it pales in comparison with India’s. Consider this: Since the start of this century, almost nine years ago, India has seen the targeted murder of over 600 Christians, most of them in riots this summer, not to mention Indian Muslims. Groups like the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and the Durga Vahini have established militant training camps across India where members are indoctrinated against other religions and Hindu supremacy is emphasized. Recently, the Durga Vahini has proudly distributed pictures of its female members wearing the sari and brandishing guns at an indoctrination camp. In Kashmir, the Indian government and military are recruiting poor Hindu peasants into Hindu militias armed to confront the Muslim majority’s demand for an end to Indian occupation.
There are reports now that the arrested Indian army colonel and some other officers linked to Hindu terror groups might have had something to do with the bombing and eventual deaths of dozens of Pakistanis aboard the Samjhota Express in 2006.
There is also no question that the mythology that has surrounded Pakistani intelligence agencies’ purported links to religious groups in Afghanistan and Kashmir might have impressed some Indian security officials and played a role in influencing Indian thinking.
But the problem with this genie that the Indian political and military establishments have apparently unleashed is that it is bound to feed on India’s massive poverty problem, especially in the next few years when India’s economy is projected to considerably slow down, starting next year, as a result of a global recession.
It’s all right for the Indians to think in terms of projecting power and adopt whatever means necessary to do it. The problem with this thinking is that expensive showoff space shuttles to Moon – when almost no one else in the world is doing it for now – won’t reduce poverty among the world’s largest single concentration of poor people on earth. In India.
The writer works for Geo TV. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org