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Published On:05 September 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

BOOK REVIEW: Indian Mujahideen: The terror inside

Shishir Gupta writes some hard facts about home-grown terrorists in “Indian Mujahideen”

By Shukti Sarma

Writing about home-grown jihad is a tough job. If one criticises militant Islam, one is termed a Hindu fundamentalist. If one doesn’t, it is deemed to be fishing for minority compliments. Adding to a confused secular ideal is the political class that hypes up, or glosses over, this serious threat—depending on their plans about reaching for or retaining power. Hence, popular discourse on jihad stops with clichéd films and theories about empowerment and communal tension.

The only way to tackle this is to go by facts. And here lies Shishir Gupta’s skill in writing and handling Indian Mujahideen (IM). Being a veteran journalist, he assembles an exhaustive directory of information about the rise, fall and resurfacing of the IM, a local terrorist outfit that didn’t even figure on the public and intelligence radar, until recently.

Gupta doesn’t preach and doesn’t sound like a rabid Hindu. He doesn’t adopt the typical rhetoric of victimhood, which a refreshing change. He is clear about what he says. He traces the formation and rise of IM from the time of the Babri Masjid demolition, quoting extensively from intelligence and police reports to describe the lives of the who’s who of the movement. Right from the origin and break-up of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) to the German Bakery (Koregaon Park, Pune) strike and blasts on the Varanasi ghats in December 2010, Gupta covers all the prominent incidents of terrorist strikes that have rocked India.

Based on actual statements and interviews, he presents the lives of these dangerous leaders and their helpers—from the Bhatkal brothers to Aftab Ansari, Shahnawaz Alam and Mohsin Choudhary. Gupta rightly says that though the faces and names change, the mould and the puppeteers remain the same; so all the stories appear similar. But the meticulous description of the conception, planning and execution of criminal and terror acts is so gripping that the book is unputdownable.

Stories flow into each other; the result is a factual thriller that would compete with the best of spy thrillers. The terror network comes alive in the book, as Gupta describes in detail the channels through which funds, resources, knowledge and personnel are routed to India. The web spans across the Middle East to Bangladesh, Nepal and, of course, Pakistan, home to the ‘jihad factory’. But Gupta doesn’t stop at that. Taking note of the latest developments, he shows how the menace has now spread even to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

One shudders at the reach of the terrorist network on the Indian subcontinent. No state remains untouched by it even as the polarisation of communities continues. People drift further apart with each act of terrorism which keeps the vicious circle intact. Gupta spares neither Hindu fundamentalists, nor the intelligence machinery, not even the political rulers. He doesn’t generalise or theorise; he backs each word with hard facts. He rightly points out that, over the years, the entire security apparatus has failed and more harm has been done by putting party loyalists in charge rather than experienced specialists; successive strikes prove that.

In the concluding chapter, Gupta also gives the solution, which has already been recommended by the Sachar Committee Report and the Justice Jagannath Mishra Committee Report. Jihad, today, has little to do with rabid clerics. The Muslim youth, who have been systematically sidelined by their own leaders’ follies, politicians and administration, must be brought into the mainstream and allowed to participate in the country’s growth. There is no cure other than inclusive democracy.IM doesn’t believe in appearing politically correct and rises above the dime-a-dozen books churned out every year on ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims.

It is a must-read for those who deny the existence of home-grown terror and look towards the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba after every blast. It is especially recommended for those who boast that India manages to avoid 99% of planned blasts.

(Coutesy: Money Life)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on September 05, 2011. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

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