On 14 February, Adil Ahmad Dar, a 19-year-old youth from Kashmir, rammed a vehicle laden with explosives into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama. The suicide attack took 49 lives.
You can also read this article in Hindi- क्यों पुलवामा हमला एक घृणा अपराध था
A video was released soon after by the Pakistan-based jihadi group, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in which Dar claimed responsibility for the attack.
In the video, Dar can be seen calling upon Muslims to rise up and "break the shackles of enslavement", and asking them to listen to his message "keeping in mind all the tales of horrors inflicted upon them by Hindus". He is seen saying, "it was not in the uncouth cow urine drinkers to deal with their attacks".
The derogatory phrase – cow urine drinkers – is commonly used for Hindus in Islamist parlance.
Dar then goes on to cite several attacks on India, such as the IC 814 hijacking, attack on the Indian Parliament, the Badami Bagh cantonment, and Pathankot air force station, along with the recent targeted killings of Indian officers. He is seen saying that the cases "wished to clear your [Indian] misgivings that deaths of a few of their commanders would deter them".
Spewing hate at Hindus again, Dar says, "it was not in uncouth cow urine drinkers to break their chain of jihad".
He further says that the sleeping lions of Hindustan will wake up, put Hindus in shackles and make them bow to Islam as the strains of Allah-o-Akbar would play from the minarets of Babri Masjid yet again.
Telegram channels affiliated with the terror organisation were also reportedly flooded with messages describing the attack as an act against Hindus. One of the messages read:
As can be seen, the message claims that "100 Hindu Indian Hindu soldiers" had been killed.
These statements leave no doubt that the Pulwama attack was essentially an attack on Hindus and on a ‘Hindu India’ fuelled by the jihadi hatred for non-believers of Islam. It is in line with JeM's stated goal to liberate Kashmir from India and merge it with Pakistan. Liberating Kashmir is their first step and their end-game is to liberate the entire India from Hindus and other non-Muslims. This is clear from Ahmad Dar’s message.
JeM is closely linked with both the Taliban and Al Qaeda, which is visible in its character. It has political goals (like the Taliban) and globalist goals (like Al Qaeda) and its ranks have often comprised war veterans from Afghanistan, Pakistani and Chechnya. The mastermind of the Pulwama attack, Abdul Rasheed Ghazi, was also an Afghan war veteran.
Narrow geo-political goals cannot bring people from lands as far away as Chechnya to Kashmir. Some stronger force has to be at play here, and that is the force of hate fuelled by rampant radicalisation in the Islamic world. They radicalise and recruit the youth through a perverted interpretation of Quran and key elements in the Islamic history (this author has highlighted it in an earlier piece). Hate for non-believers and the notion of Islamic superiority over non-believers and idol-worshippers are essential to this process.
Despite this, a large section of the media has maintained a stoic silence over this element of religious hate. As if this was not enough, it has instead victimised the perpetrator. Stories have propped up about how it was in fact harassment at the hands of security forces that drove Dar to terrorism. Such reportage bypasses elements of hate and radicalisation altogether and creates an impression that it was in fact harassment that turned a person into a terrorist.
The media's attempts to whitewash Dar's motives comes across as extremely suspicious, especially when it is otherwise eager to report 'hate crimes’ and publish alarming reports every now and then.
Swarajya and some other publications have reported extensively on how media, particularly English media, plays up religious hate crimes where Hindus are alleged perpetrators while downplaying, under-reporting or even misreporting cases where Hindus are victims.
Swarajya has, in fact, shown through detailed analyses and ground reports how a popular hate crime tracker peddles a highly partisan narrative based on selective and at times misleading reporting.
After the Pulwama attack, a journalist from Swarajya asked the portal that runs the hate tracker, Factchecker.in, on whether they would include the deadly attack in their database. Factchecker.in replied it won't, and here's their explanation:
"Our database definition clearly states that religion-based hate crimes are not crimes motivated by the perpetrator’s religious ideology but those cases where bias against the religious identity of the victim partly or wholly motivates the crime...When a terrorist attacks an army vehicle or blows up a city centre, the circumstances show that the attack was primarily against the nation and its security forces, not the religious group identity of the victims..."
Interestingly, when the journalist and several other Twitter users pointed out that the portal was assuming the terrorist's motive while ignoring his own stated motive of killing Hindus, the portal did not reply.
It's obvious that Islamist outfits like JeM target ‘kaafirs'. So it is not only the ‘religious ideology’ of perpetrators but also religious identity of victims that drive their violent agenda. The attacker’s testimony makes it clear.
There is also another argument that punctures the portal's explanation. Going by Factchecker.in's logic, even attacks by Hitler on other nations that were inspired by his anti-Semitic hate cannot be called hate crimes. Anti-Semitism was central to Hitler-led Nazi ideology. It not only restricted itself to hate against Jews in Germany, but inspired Germany's attack on other nations in the Second World War, besides its imperial designs and sense of resentment. By 1941, destruction of European Jewry had become part of the official ideology of Nazi party.
It is also established that there is no notion of a nation among Islamists. They believe in ‘ummah’ – a global community of believers across borders the world over. So their wars are not waged on countries but on communities that they may often associate with certain countries. This is evident in Dar's message for ‘Hindu Indians’ and the Islamist rhetoric on Israel and Jews.
Thus, as stated earlier in this piece, the terrorist attack at Pulwama is essentially a religious hate crime against Hindus and ‘Hindu India’. The refusal to acknowledge this by the media and hate database creators reflects their inherent bias against the Hindu community and pro-Islamist leanings.
Madhur Sharma is a post-graduate student of journalism at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, and a history graduate from Delhi University. He tweets at @madhur_mrt.
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