Red blood and saffron plots: Assam riots and the RSS-BJP

As conspiracy theories go, this one is pretty outlandish. But then, when you wear so many hats, as Amaresh Misra does, it's often hard to say which hat you are talking out of. Misra, whose career progression has seen him evolve from political activist to journalist to historian to politician, has always been big on conspiracy theories: be it the 26/11 November attacks in Mumbai (which, he argued, were an CIA-Mossad- RSS project) or the killing of Hemant Karkare (which he suggested was an IB hit-job), he believes in going completely over the top. No middle ground for Mr Misra.

Never mind that the sole surviving perpetrator of the 26/11 crime, and the terrorists'  'handler' in Pakistan, have already confessed to their 26/11 crime. Just as there are the 9/11 deniers, the conspiracy theorists in the US who believe that the US government was either responsible for or complicit in the September 11 attacks, Misra churns out many fanciful theories to account for many events in contemporary Indian history.

On Wednesday, for instance, Misra argued in an expansive blog post on The Times of India, that the RSS and the BJP have initiated  a communally divisive campaign in the run-up to the next general election. In that project,  everything that we saw in the past month — from the Assam riots between Bodo tribal people and Muslims to the violence at Azad Maidan on 11 August (following a meeting convened by the Raza Academy to protest the killings of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar) to even the rumours that surfaced in India's biggest metropolitan cities and triggered an 'exodus' of people from the north-east back home  — was the handiwork of the RSS and the  BJP, he says.


But unlike on earlier occasions, when the RSS and the BJP went by an outdated template for communal mobilisation against Muslims, this time, they have picked on "ethnic riots with a communal slant" as their way to polarise the polity.

Misra writes: "Instead of a minority-majority clash, the game plan seems to be of pitting one minority against the other. This explains the way Bodo militants — belonging to an ethnic minority group — first attacked Bengali Muslims — a religious minority. Then an issue of Bangladeshi infiltrators was inserted in the script."

Not only that, even the subsequent violence in Azad Maidan, he argues, wasn't the work of radical Muslims. It was, he says, instigated by the MNS of Raj Thackery.

"On August 11 in Mumbai too, the initial violence occurred when MNS activists taunted Muslim youths for 'sitting idle’ after Assam and Burma incidents. Not many people are aware of the fact that till recently, Raj Thackarey’s MNS had a lot of Muslim activists as well."

And after the initial flare-up in Mumbai, some "professional elements" who, Misra says, were revealed to him by Mumbai police sources as being" under contract (supari) to create violence" on  August 11 — to defame Muslims — took over. "They were the ones who beat up the police and molested women constables," he adds.

Claiming that the 'exodus' of north-east Indians began from Pune and Bangalore, Misra explains it thus: "The infiltration in Pune by RSS-ISI-Mossad type elements is well known in Maharashtra police circles."

So, there you have it: it was all an RSS-ISI-Mossad plot.

The problem with the  blinkered worldview of people with closed minds is that they can explain everything with a template response.

The irony of all this is that Misra himself admits that as an 18-year-old in 1984, as a Left street theatre group performing on Kolkata's streets,  he personally witnessed a Sikh truck driver being beaten and torched to death barely hours after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh security guard.

Misra says he was traumatised by the event, which is a very readily understandable emotion — as others who bore witness to similar killings have testified.

"For several days, I was unable to sleep; I was full of rage; it was good that I did not have access to a gun those days — I would certainly have used it on some right-wing, communal/anti-Sikh element," he writes.

Here's the irony: the anti-Sikh pogrom was  orchestrated, in Delhi and elsewhere, by Congress goons overseen by their political masters.  Yet, Misra, who claims he was traumatised by the killing of a Sikh driver, went ahead years later and joined the same Congress, which to this day has not punished any of the perpetrators of that pogrom. And in the Congress, Misra was handpicked by no less than Digvijaya Singh to head the "Anti-Communal Front". Evidently, the systematic killing of  Sikhs in 1984 was a "secular" undertaking.

It's no wonder that Misra shares Digvijaya Singh's worldview, and sees the RSS-BJP-Mossad-CIA hand in everything that happens in contemporary India.

Even if it is the case that the BJP and its 'mother' organisation are up to political polarisation mischief — and who can put it past them? — intellectual honesty demands that it be acknowledged that the Congress and the other "secular" organisations too play just as dirty a game. But of course, when you're the" anti-communal icon" of the Congress, its easy to blot out the horrors that your own party has committed. Such is the tragedy of the polemics of  "one-eyed" secularism"  in India today.

Read Misra's latest blogpost here and his 26/11 conspiracy theories here and here.

Updated Date: Aug 23, 2012 15:31 PM

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