The Politics of Targeting

Article excerpt

India, July 31 -- The 9/11 attacks made President George W Bush announce his country's determination to pursue its anti-terrorism policy all over the world.

This 'globalisation' by the US impacted not only the strategic policies of various states engaged in the fight against terror, but the rise of terrorism has also given birth to a thinking process that associates Muslims with violence.

India is a major country engaged in a war against 'terrorism', which has become the central agenda of the 21st century. Hence the question arises, especially in the context of a complex multi-religious country like 'Who is a terrorist?'

While the central government or the states have always taken the correct position that the culprits will be caught after proper 'investigation', a large section of Indian society, and even a section of the print and audio visual media, do not show the same restraint. Pakistan's state policy of exporting terrorism has contributed to the large extent to this.

It cannot be denied that jihadist Islamic groups based in Pakistan often make anti-Indian statements, which provide a source of justification for a section of Indian society to pronounce judgements against Indian Muslims.

Further, there is no denying the fact that the rapid and ongoing process of communalisation of Indian society has contributed to the climate of mistrust. Religion-based politics in a multi-religious country like India has historically 'divided' society on a 'religious basis' and such a milieu - targeting religious communities for their real/fictitious acts of omission and commission - becomes a fact of political culture and discourse of 'religious majority versus religious minority'.

The spark behind 'religious terrorism' is in the ideology that makes people act against 'other religions', an ideology based on a one-sided and biased interpretation of the meaning of religion, conveyed to the youth by priests and politicians.

Second, if a chief minister says, "I am a Hindu nationalist because I am a born Hindu. I am patriotic ... …