At present, there are more than twenty [Islamic] fundamentalist organizations indulging in jihadi activities in the [Tamil Nadu] state. Although the state has not witnessed major bomb blasts after the Coimbatore Blasts in 1998, jihad has taken root and grown to menacing proportions, as evidenced by the recent murders of Hindu activists, grievous assaults on them and incidents like the Ambur riots – Thamizhchelvan
Aggression linked to Islamic fundamentalism, which started some three decades back in Tamil Nadu, has grown alarmingly over the years. It has so far claimed the lives of 134 Hindus and hundreds of Hindus have also been subjected to severe and serious assaults.
Hindu Munnani (Hindu Front), an organization affiliated to the RSS, has documented the violence and terror activities that have occurred since 2006. It has documented around 300 incidents in 21 states and released a documentary titled “Tamil Nadu in the Grip of Islamic Terrorism” (in 3 DVDs).
This documentary was released in Chennai on Sunday, 21 February 2016, at a well-attended event, by Mr Rama Gopalan, founder president, Hindu Munnani. The first copy was received by senior BJP Leader and former Union Minister Dr. Subramanian Swamy. Mr Sushil Pandit, co-founder of “Roots in Kashmir” attended as a special invitee along with H. Raja, national secretary, BJP.
The documentary is a compilation of jihadi murders and assaults, numerous anti-national, anti-social and anti-Hindu incidents such as destruction of temples, deceiving girls through Love Jihad, crimes against women, destroying the businesses of Hindus, obstructing Hindu festivals and religious processions, cow slaughter, insulting national symbols, indulging in pro-Pakistan campaigns, promoting the agenda of international terrorist organizations, indulging in terror acts, smuggling of weapons, involving in fake currency rackets, helping infiltration of foreign nationals and attacking police stations and police personnel.
At the function, Sushil Pandit spoke about the history of Kashmir, how it came under Afghan subjugation and how Hindus suffered. He detailed the various exoduses of Hindus including the last one in the 1990s. Talking about jihadi incidents across the countries in states like West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, etc., except Kashmir, he said, “There is no Article 370 of the Constitution in all these places. Therefore you don’t have anything to blame. Hindus are a minority in all these places. So, it is the mindset that is to be blamed. Everything depends on the mindset and not in numbers or Constitution or Articles of Constitution or the laws of the land. It is here in our mindset”.
He concluded saying, “I think this documentary and the documentation done through this are very significant. We have also documented the destruction of our temples, homes and properties. We are very good in documentation. But, we have to go beyond this. These documentaries and the truth told by these documentaries should make us, motivate us, to act.”
Dr Swamy explained how the Muslim League captured the reserved constituencies in the 1946 General Elections in Tamil Nadu, and how it has always been in support of Pakistan. He elaborated how the Dravidian Parties, especially the DMK and the AIADMK, have been helping Islamic fundamentalism to grow in the state through their vote bank politics.
Citing a few clippings from the documentary, Dr Swamy said that the present AIADMK government is totally incompetent to check Islamic aggression and protect the state from jihad. He demanded that the Chief Minister ensure law and order and request the Center’s help if needed. Overall, he said, the Indian Constitution is very strong. He gave a clarion call for unity among Hindus and averred that the community could face and neutralise the challenge of terrorism if united.
At this juncture, a look back to the beginning of Islamic aggression in Tamil Nadu will be in order. When the Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was very active under different names in different states across the country, the ‘Jihad Committee’ founded by Palani Baba and ‘Al Umma’ founded by S. A. Basha were created in Tamil Nadu; they started inciting communal riots on a small scale through attacks and killings. The attacks on former BJP president late Jana Krishnamurthy and Ramagopalan, founder, Hindu Munnani, in the 1980s were among such brutal attacks, as was the murder of Hindu Munnani leader Rajagopal in October 1994.
As successive Dravidian governments failed to arrest their growth, they indulged in jihad clandestinely. Emboldened by the ineptitude of both DMK and AIADMK governments over the years, they increased their footprint. In November 1993, when Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK was in power, there was a major strike at the RSS headquarters in Chennai in which 11 swayamsevaks died. Until then, the AIADMK government had not realized the huge security threat posed by Islamic terrorism in the state. The state government swung into action immediately and the police arrested Al Umma chief S. A. Basha and 15 others hailing from the Kottamedu area of Coimbatore. Kottamedu and nearby Ukkadam have been rearing grounds for Islamic terrorism.
Meanwhile, after the murder of Palani Baba, the Jihad Committee disintegrated and the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazahagam (TMMK) was founded in 1995. The TMMK gave a political colour to Islamic fundamentalism and was a brainchild of Hyder Ali, who came out of Al Umma after a tiff with Basha. Hyder Ali was alleged to be a former associate of Palani Baba in the Jihad Committee and now acts as general secretary of TMMK. Jawahirullah, president of TMMK, is also a product of SIMI.
As Al Umma was banned after the Coimbatore Blast, it assumed a new avatar as Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP). As it was operating from districts like Coimbatore and Theni, which share borders with Kerala, it had regular liaison with the Kerala based extremist outfit National Development Front (NDF) for plotting terror activities.
On 22 November 2006, the leaders of Karnataka for Dignity (KFD), MNP and NDF gathered at a conference in Calicut and decided to form a new outfit—Popular Front of India (PFI)—to coordinate their activities. The leaders of PFI include K. M. Shareef, president of KFD, Gulam Muhammed of MNP and Abdur Rahman Baqari of NDF (all erstwhile SIMI activists); they decided to confine their activities to South India.
Earlier, The Indian Express carried an analytical report by Jaya Menon on the activities of MNP indulging in ‘conversion’ and conducting classes in the name of ‘Arivagam’ to brainwash new converts, especially Scheduled Castes, to train and recruit them in jihadi squads (26 July 2006).
On 22 July 2006, five Manitha Neethi Pasarai cadres were arrested in Coimbatore on charges of plotting serial bomb blasts similar to the 1998 blasts. All five were acquitted on 9 February 2008 on grounds of being arrested on false charges. After this, there was no noise about MNP in media circles, though their activities were allegedly going on clandestinely.
On 17 February 2007, The New Indian Express, Chennai, reported the formation of the Popular Front of India (PFI) on 16 February 2007, as a coordinated effort between the Karnataka For Dignity (KFD), Karnataka; Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP), Tamil Nadu; and National Development Front (NDF), Kerala.
The supposed objective of the PFI, launched in Bangalore, was, ‘to coordinate & strengthen grassroot level developmental activities throughout the country,’ followed by an ‘Empower India’ conference in the garden city. The paper further reported, “Though the organisation’s agenda has been well spelt out—democracy and social justice, the state police fear that the organisation had been set up to propagate hardliner ideology”.
Islamic terrorism thus started in Tamil Nadu, grew alarmingly over the years, well supported by Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia. At present, there are more than twenty fundamentalist organizations indulging in jihadi activities in the state. Although the state has not witnessed major bomb blasts after the Coimbatore Blasts in 1998, jihad has taken root and grown to menacing proportions, as evidenced by the recent murders of Hindu activists, grievous assaults on them and incidents like the Ambur riots and riots over the movies Viswaroopam and Innocence of Muslims and like issues. All these activities have been meticulously documented by Hindu Munnani.
This well made documentary is the first of its kind and is indeed a path breaking effort of documentation of the history of Islamic fundamentalism in Tamil Nadu. We will see in detail, what the documentary says, in the coming days.
The documentary in Tamil can be seen on the HINDU KURAL website.
(To be continued…)
» Thamizhchelvan is an independent journalist in Chennai.