Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
On July 7 a series of low-intensity bomb explosions in the Mahabodhi Budhist temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar killed two persons and injured several others.
Next day, as usual, the newspapers said it was the handiwork of Indian Mujahideen, an amorphous group that, according to intelligence agencies, specialises in such terror.
There was no ground for bringing in a “Muslim terror” group in the picture. It was merely out of old habit that led to the needle being pointed towards Muslims even though there was no clear reason why an Indian Muslim group should target a historic Budhist site. In India there is no record of Muslim-Budhist conflict.
To Muslim eyes it looked like Chattisingpura massacre of Sikhs in Kashmir by security forces personnel during Bill Clinton’s visit. The killers passed on the blame to “Muslim terrorists” and quickly gunned down several innocent young Muslims saying they were the people who had killed the Sikhs. The real culprits were found later.
The media’s indecent haste jeopardised Muslim-Sikh relations, but thanks to the patience and wisdom of both sides it did not turn into a Muslim-Sikh conflict. That the real criminals were soon found out also helped.
Media’s irresponsible conjecture has every potential of creating a Muslim-Budhist confrontation in India. The long shot logic is that Indian Mujahideen may have carried out the attack to avenge the persecution of Rohingya Muslims by Budhists in Myanmar. Who said that it was a revenge against the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar? The Times of India in its July 9 edition wrote, “Some say it was an IM strike against ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.”
Who are those “some” who are saying so? Are they police or intelligence men? No. Then, who are they? The fact is that there is no source for it and it is merely a communal conjecture on the part of the writer himself.
On one of the bombs was written, “To protest Iraq war,” according to this report. The point here is that Iraq being a Muslim country, it must have been the handiwork of a Muslim group. But how is Iraq related to Myanmar? Or to a Budhist temple in Gaya? Iraq war’s responsibility lied with the US and Britain, not with Myanmar or Gaya.
As if to put its weight behind the Rohingya guess, The Times of India used a bold headline in red saying, “Using Rohingya Factor to Stoke Trouble.” The text that followed did not specifically say that the bombs were planted to avenge attacks on Rohingyas.
Meanwhile the fact remains that even after five days of the blasts India’s premier intelligence and security agencies, NIA, IB and NSG have not got a clue to who was behind the attacks. Why can’t we think of some Hindutva terror group as did Digvijay Singh? In the past Sangh terrorists have created such havoc, particularly to polarise Hindu vote. Interestingly, a watch used as a timer to trigger the blasts had a lotus mark on it. Lotus is the symbol of BJP. So, why can’t this enter the thought of media’s reporters and writers as the first flash? g