The myth of ‘Hindutva terror’

http://www.niticentral.com/2012/11/the-myth-of-hindutva-terror.html

By Kiran Kumar S on November 5, 2012

India is home to nearly 18 per cent of the world’s population. That’s a huge chunk of humanity in one country. Of this, nearly 82 per cent are Hindus. So naturally, it is a nation with a Hindu identity, irrespective of whether people with more “secular” outlook accept it or not. If Turkey can be called a Muslim nation and Germany a Christian nation, India is for sure a Hindu nation that functions in the form of a democracy.

Background:

Unfortunately India is one of the biggest victims of terrorism in the 21st century world. Interestingly, it has become very fashionable over the past 4 to 6 years to flash Hindutva “terror” or Saffron “terror” at the drop of a hat. Hindutva, is essentially an ideology which is pro-Hindu, and Saffron is a colour most associated with Sanatana Dharma, or Hinduism as the world labels it. Many people bring “Hindu terror”, “Hindutva terror” or “Saffron terror” into political and media discussions to score brownie points with the generally Hindu-despising crowd out there — the so-called secular people, communists, and some ‘friendly neighbours’ of who have a big stake in projecting Hindus in bad light.

Since Islamic terror or Muslim terror has been so much in news this century, some people felt obligated to bring in an “equal-equal” balancing act to emphasise their own secular credentials. Of course it would be stupid to say that there are no bad people who are Hindus. They exist. There are criminals, rapists, murderers and much worse people who happen to be from practicing Hindu family or just have a Hindu name. But ‘Hindutva terror’ or ‘Hindu terror’ is mostly meaningless as hardly any Hindu would go out and commit terrorism for the glory of the Bhagavad Gita or for attaining heaven for the sake of Krishna or Durga, or cite a Vedic mantra before blowing up a group of people. Hindu criminals surely exist, but Hindu ‘terror’(of the Islamist variety) is mostly imaginary. I have never come across an act of Hindutva ‘terror’ that killed even 100 people (that’s 0.8 per cent of the number of global terror victims in 2011) anywhere in the world in one incident. You can leave a comment below to educate us if you find this claim false.

Now let’s go beyond our opinions and claims. Let’s get some hard statistics from credible reports. Beyond the studios of some select media houses, does Hindutva ‘terror’, so fondly peddled by our neo-intellectuals, even exist? If it exists among 15-18 per cent of the world’s population, shouldn’t it be a very visible form of terror in international reports and news items? That too when India itself features among the 6 most terror-affected countries in the global ranking?

I found one very credible and internationally accepted report on the previous year’s terrorism statistics. I was actually hoping to see a lot of ‘Hindutva terror’-related information from this comprehensive world report on terrorism in 2011. To my shock, there was not even a single mention of ‘Hindu’, ‘RSS’, ‘Sangh’, ‘Saffron’ and other labels that Indian media regularly feeds us. There were 16 mentions of India in this 33-page comprehensive report, but not ONE mention of the word ‘Hindu’! I checked and rechecked, just to ensure that I was not missing something.

How did this happen?

How come the world’s most comprehensive report on terrorism from 2011 does not have a mention of  even one terror incident involving ‘Hindutva’ or ‘Hindu’ which many politicians and mediapersons don’t seem to stop talking about in India?

2011 Global Terror Statistics:

You can download and read the entire report here from the official National Counter Terrorism Center website in USA. (Click here to download the PDF report)

After failing to find any mention of ‘Hindutva’ terror, I then extracted some key numbers that I hope Indian media stalwarts will read through and get a larger, global perspective. There were over 10,000 terrorist attacks in 2011, affecting nearly 45,000 victims in 70 countries and resulting in over 12,500 deaths. That’s a very large number of people getting affected, even though the number of attacks were fewer compared to 2007.

India features among the six countries most affected by terrorism in 2011. In Afghanistan, 3,353 people died due to terror attacks in 2011. Iraq saw 3,063 deaths, Pakistan saw 2,033, Somalia saw 1,101, Nigeria saw 593 and India saw 479 victims. These are purely terrorism-related deaths, and do not include deaths in religious / sectarian wars like in Syria where more than 20,000 people have died in 2011 itself. The war-torn Afghanistan, the unstable Iraq, and the very likely imploding Pakistan together account for 64 per cent of the terrorist attacks in the world during 2011. India’s most volatile neighbour Pakistan, with a long history exporting terrorism, saw an increase of 8 per cent in terror attacks compared to 2010.

Now let us come to religious demographics. I am not sure this even deserves mention, but something needs to stand in contrast to all the ‘Hindutva’ bashing in Indian media.:

1.      In 2011, 56 per cent of the world’s terrorist attacks (5,700) were by Sunni Muslims. 70 per cent of the worldwide deaths were also OF Sunni Muslims.

2.      Effectively, out of the 12,533 terror victims in the world in 2011, 8,886 were killed by Sunni Muslim extremists.

3.      There were 279 suicide attacks in the world during 2011. Sunni Muslims conducted 93 per cent of these attacks.

4.      Out of 12,000+ killed by terrorists in 2011, 6,418 were civilians. 755 were children. Nearly 90 per cent of terror victims, with their religion identified, were Muslims.

Amazing! What will the ‘secular’ columnists, who made a living bashing ‘Hindutva terror’ do now? Not ONE mention in the world’s most comprehensive report of Hindu ‘terror’. Not to mention the fact that an overwhelming majority of terrorists listed happen to be Muslims, whom these folks hesitate to highlight, thanks to their ‘equal-equal’ reporting mission. Is it time for them to get back to their ‘terrorism has no religion’ cliche?

2011 Indian Terror Groups per the Global Report:

Since India unfortunately figured in this list, it was necessary to dig deep into incidents involving the country, to find out who in India was killing that many people. According to the report, the top non-Muslim terrorist groups in the world were FARC from Columbia (carried out 377 attacks in 2011), CPI-Maoist in India (351 attacks), NPA-CPP of Philippines that struck 102 times and PKK of Turkey (carried out 48 attacks).

Here were the only 3 Indian terror organisations featured:

1.      Communist ideology holding Communist Party of India – Maoist.

2.      Indian Mujahideen, the terror outfit that is alleged to have links with Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), for which the incumbent Foreign Minister of India Salman Khurshid was a legal voice.

3.      Harkat ul-Jihad Islami (HUJI).

Inference:

The summary of the report is pretty clear. It’s unfortunate for India that it did figure as the sixth most terror-affected nation on this planet. However, even though Hindus form 15 to 18 per cent of the world’s population across dozens of countries, with an overwhelming majority in India, they had zero mention in the comprehensive world terror report for 2011. Not only was there no mention of the word ‘Hindu’ itself, all other related labels like ‘Hindutva’, ‘RSS’ etc. were absent as well. Among the three Indian terrorist outfits featured in the global report, two were Islamist and one was Communist. Ironically, it is the advocates of these very same ideologies that have been trying desperately to project to the world the imaginary idea of ‘Hindutva terror’ and the huge danger it poses to humanity.

I hope India’s top politicians, their speechwriters and media editors read this report carefully. Perhaps they would do better by getting back to the ‘terrorism has no religion’ cliche instead of discrediting themselves by peddling the non-existent ‘Hindutva Terror’.

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