S.M. Mushrif may have thrown up an important question which he believes will almost certainly be killed by the media.
He describes Hemant Karkare as a noble Brahmin and his detractors as Brahminists. It seems that Mushrif, a former DIG of Maharashtra police, admired Karkare for his avowed secularism like most Indian Muslims would swear by Pandit Nehru.
Nehru was a Kashmiri Brahmin who detested the obscurantist nationalism of those Brahmins who belonged to the RSS stable from Maharashtra.
The battle-lines between secular Brahmins, represented by Karkare, the fallen anti-terror police chief who was killed in last November’s terror attack in Mumbai, and Brahminist supremacists whom he was moving to neutralise, thus goes back a long way in history.
The Indian political class of all religions including their caste categories is essentially lined up behind these two opposite types of Brahmins – secularists and supremacists.
At least this is what Mushrif’s book about Karkare’s mysterious death suggests in its core thesis.
Mushrif’s account of Karkare’s death on the first night of the gunbattle with terrorists hints at the possibility that the secular Brahmin had big enemies among Brahminist supremacists. It reads though more like an instinctive conjecture than a well-grounded thesis.
The book ‘Who killed Karkare? The real face of terrorism in India’ accuses the all powerful Intelligence Bureau (IB) of representing Brahminist lobbies. And it says that India’s external spy agency RAW is relatively free of Brahminist influence.
This is a serious observation and it has come from someone who was once part of the system at a fairly high level. Should there be a debate at least about the character of these agencies, all the more because of the clout they seem to wield in the shaping of India’s national consciousness.
The Americans lionise the CIA and the FBI but they also keep very close tabs on what their agencies are up to. Revelations on Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib were examples of a healthy check placed on runaway and usually misplaced nationalist zeal.
Even in the Pakistani media, the ISI and other powerful state institutions are often put under public scrutiny. In the Indian media these institutions are either not discussed, or if they are treated like holy cows.
Mushrif has broken new ground by becoming the rare high-ranking police officer to put a sharp focus on an un-discussed subject. It is another matter that the book sounds a bit shrill in expressing its concerns, and there will be criticism, if the claims are not altogether ignored and hidden from public gaze.
Mushrif goes into history to make his point. Right or wrong, I believe it needs to be discussed, criticised but certainly not ignored.
According to Mushrif, the first pre-planned Hindu-Muslim riot was caused by Maharashtrian Brahminists of Pune in 1893. They did so to divert the attention of common Hindus from the reformist movement of Jyotiba Phule and others, which was sweeping the region in the last half of the 19th century. Is this a valid view that needs to be studied?
Mushrif lists 48 incidents connected with ‘terrorism of Brahminist organisations,’ As many as 35 were located in Maharashtra. ‘Though in some of the cases, common Hindu youths appear to be involved, a detailed enquiry into them would reveal that the Brahminists have been their masterminds.’
Mushrif says a recent conspiracy unearthed by Karkare to destabilise India’s constitutionally established democratic republic and to form a Brahminist Rashtra was hatched in Maharashtra and most of the accused persons, including the main alleged conspirator, Lt Col Purohit, were Maharashtrian Brahminists, as distinct from secular Brahmins.
Mushrif believes that Abhinav Bharat, an extremist group being investigated by Karkare when he was killed, was ‘the fountain of inspiration’ for anti-India terrorism. Its national president was Himani Savarkar ‘a staunch Brahminist and daughter-in-law of V.D. Savarkar’s brother, who hails from Maharashtra’.
Doubts are raised in the book about attacks blamed on Muslims. Mushrif thinks these were false flag attacks staged by Brahminists.
‘The Ahmedabad bomb blast and Surat unexploded bombs case of July 2008 had a Maharashtra connection, as the emails received by some TV channels minutes before the blasts were traced to New Mumbai. The vehicles used for the blasts were stolen from New Mumbai and passed through Talasari toll post in Thane district of Maharashtra, presumably by tampering the CCTV cameras installed at all the toll posts. Some of the unexploded bombs were found wrapped in Marathi newspapers.’
Mushrif’s accusations seem to be superficial but they are too serious to be ignored. That includes his claim that ‘the Brahminists in Maharashtra managed to give the investigation a totally different twist with the help of their brethren in the IB.’
Taking up a controversial encounter killing of two young alleged terrorists in the so-called Batla House raid in a Muslim locality in Delhi last year, Mushrif says the SIM cards of mobile phones found with the killed men were traced to Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.
‘The SIM cards were also found to have been used by the terrorists to contact somebody in Aurangabad. However, only a superficial enquiry has been made into the matter and no action has been taken against the real masterminds. If probed deep and taken to its logical end, it would expose a Brahminist connection.’
Clearly Mushrif would gain by writing with more care and he does lose valuable points by making charges that will be difficult to prove.
Mushrif quotes another incident to make the Brahminist link. ‘In the Kanpur explosion of August 2008, Maharashtra connections have been disclosed. In this case, two Bajrang Dal activists (Rajiv Mishra and Bhupinder Singh) had died while making explosive devices. The investigation revealed that they had plans for massive explosions in the minority-dominated Ferozabad, and that they had frequently called up on two mobile phones in Mumbai since two months before the blast. But the police have not yet been able to identify the persons concerned, apparently under the Brahminist-dominated IB.’
About the Mumbai attack of November 26, last year, Mushrif raises a key doubt. ‘During the Mumbai terror attack of 26/11, the mobile phones used by the terrorists who wreaked havoc at the CST Station have been traced to Satara District of Maharashtra. In whoevers’ name the SIM cards may stand, an in-depth investigation would lead the trail to Brahminist organisations and their leaders. But this matter has been frozen by the IB and the Crime Branch in Mumbai, for obvious reasons.’
The trouble with Mushrif’s book is that it is not so ‘obvious’ that he is essentially right on all his claims. But that could hardly be a reason to not take his perspective with a degree of seriousness that a fair fight against terrorism deserves.