This note is about the vandalism by the Shiv Sena carried out on the 7th of July 2006. I felt very strongly about the event. It was nothing short of terrorism as I saw it – and of the most frivolous kind. There was no enemy nation, no rights violated of those forcibly evicted or a religious enmity. Every time I see a mention of the 7/11 blasts in the papers I get infuriated with the papers as well as the civil society in general which love fighting invisible enemies alone and shows no inclination for the clear and visible ones.
While this note is about the Sena I do not wish to discuss the Sena here. What really appalled me about 7/7 was how people and the authorities in the city just chickened out from taking any action against the specific people involved in the arson and in fanning emotions on the issue. I used to await any mention around the 7th of every month for the past six months to see if there would be any mention. I didn’t follow the papers towards the end of December but don’t think anybody carried it as a serious black mark. Now again as 7th January came about I thought I will express myself.
11/7 train blasts did not obliterate the need for any action on 7/7. It was not an event which should have taken away attention from 7/7 which to my mind was far more serious. What is worse? – a terrorist group (LeT) whose sole stated purpose is to cause death and destruction in India or a political party (Shiv Sena) which claims to be the savior of Hindu’s and the Marathi Manoos and the city, which then at the slightest provocation brings the city to a halt and engages in arson.
I think 11/7 proved to be a good excuse for the cowardly Hindu intelligentsia to avoid confrontation with the devils within. It’s very convenient to make an enemy of people who are thousands of kilometers away and are faceless. And then blame all your ills on them. It’s very difficult to take a tough stand against criminals who stay a block away, whom you can drop by in to express your unhappiness and people who are from your own holy community.
There were buses burnt and life disrupted of a city by the people of those city itself. And ironically by a set of people who force people to believe that they are the only ones who can ensure the city’s best interests. I had my office in Dadar that time close to the Sena Bhavan and had an important meeting and couldn’t go. The sight of buses being burnt and those hooligans (party members) going about got my blood to boil. Which Hindu’s were these? And which Hindu’s (not mine) interest were they serving?
The bust of Meenatai Thackeray was found splashed with mud on the morning of 7th July 2006. It was not that the bust was damaged in any manner. Lets consider the worst scenario – all conjecture. Some enemy of the nation wanting to foster communal disharmony had indeed done the activity (LeT and ISI). Lets also consider that it was a party like Samajwadi which did it. So what? You play into the enemies plans? While the enemy just throws some mud on a bust which does no damage to the country – except to the ego’s of some politicians and false leaders – what do you do? You do the real damage. Damage property and bring to a halt the prime commercial city of the country?
And why should one’s self respect and pride and belief in ideology be so frail as to be affected by some mud. The issue was a trivial one and as my conspiracy theory mind tells me maybe fabricated by their own selves. Shiv Sena has always been wanting in rallying behind issues which make sense. And they were not finding anybody doing something senseless that they could object to. So what is the next best option – create an issue.
And shouldn’t the same people who felt so strongly about 11/7 have done something about 7/7. Terrorism is terrorism in any manner. It is the act of creating terror. Whether by mob mania or with bomb blasts. If you choose to ignore terrorism of one kind over the other you are asking for trouble.
11/7 saw the ATS getting into action. Over the 3 months following the incidence the media was full of stories outlining the chain of events over half the country. Showing raids being conducted and leader after leader and anybody castigating Pakistan and LeT. The State is meant to only hunt out Muslim terrorists. Hindu’s anyways cannot be terrorists. They are the most peaceful, gentlemanly, law abiding, spiritual and honest people the planet ever saw.
Has the ATS been able to find out who burnt the buses at Shivaji Park on 7/7? Who were the members in the mob? For 11/7 we have names and faces coming up on the screen. Why can’t the same be for 7/7? I want to see the face of the persons who burnt those buses and threw stones. We may not punish them but can at least get them on a talk show and understand their viewpoint. We will not have to go to PoK to find these people. Most probably they hang out every evening at Shivaji Park. What good is our intelligence and police? Even a media reporter and concerned citizens could have borne that out by informal enquiries.
Maybe the punishment for 7/7 is very less but if we do not initiate enquiries then the message seems pretty clear that its okay to go out and vent you anger by once in a while going and burning some buses and throwing stones and brining the city to a halt and slice of a few hundred crores from the GDP.
7/7 saw the Home Minister talking tough. He warned of serious action. For the 3-4 days after the incident the whole city was angry. Even the Sena’s face seemed to go red. And then – complete silence? The Sena must have thanked their stars and the indifferent and cowardly city.
Discussions around 11/7 could have maybe taken our full time till the end of July but at least by the 7th of August we should have realized that there was something equally serious desiring attention. And what about the media? It’s amazing how no channel, no paper and no magazine chose to question how the saviors of the city keep hurting it whenever given a chance. I waited and waited that sometime, somewhere there will be some noise. Not just protest or a demand to punish the culprits but maybe even a justification or a casual mention. Nothing.
If you were to do a simple search for 7/11 on Mumbai Mirror (which carried a lot of sensational 7/11 stories) you get nearly 70 odd stories. For 7/7 I tried various combinations but gave up trying after the search results yielded nothing. Yes no life was lost on 7/7 and 289 were lost on 11/7. But does a crime get measured for its severity with other more serious crimes. Was it a coincidence that the two events happened close to each other? Could there be a connection? I am also reminded of 1992-93 when it was Hindu fascists who started a chain of destruction by demolishing Babri Mosque.
Everything is a question mark? We have a convenient civil society also where there is no shortage of people talking good governance as long as the talk centers around improving the SYSTEM. Talking system is a convenient option to having to confront specific instances of complete failure of governance. As if good governance was possible by turning a blind eye to events like 7/7 and the double standards and chicanery that exist all around us.