Date: 19/04/2019

Hindu Terror---Insider account of Ministry of Home Affairs by R.V.S.Mani;
Published by Vitasta ;
Pages 219;
Price Rs.495/-


RVS Mani, the author of the book under review, was a Home Ministry Official, who reveals how the narrative of Hindu Terror was manufactured. He exposes the origin of Saffron Terror. Mani was part of the Internal Security (IS) department during the UPA era. The country faced several internal security threats during that period and witnessed one of the worst terror attacks on the country. According to his account, the UPA era witnessed several serial blasts and terrorist attacks, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks which shook the entire nation. Mani writes that officers were under immense pressure as they had only two conflicting choices, either to save their job or protect their country. In his book, he states that narratives which were promoted between the periods of 2004 to 2013 had the capacity to tear apart the social fabric of India. He backs his claim by providing official records, evidence, examples and incidents. He has directly named several officials and politicians in the book and provided detailed insights into their workings. He has been targeted several times by his colleagues for not following immoral and unethical orders. He has also appreciated the good work of several officers who eliminated the enemies of the country like former IB officer Rajesh Kumar.

A Chapter titled “Seeding of Hindu terror” lays special emphasis on how UPA’s political leadership forced MHA officials to manufacture the fake narrative of Hindu Terror. In 2006, first seed of Hindu terror was sown. Mani writes, “At a time when we had the best team in the IS division, the attitude of the government in power and intent to cover every terror incident as ‘saffron’ and the ambivalence in acting against the real perpetrators of the terror attacks was making this country a cannon fodder for those with evil designs against India”. He recalls an incident when the then Home Minister called him into his office to share information about terrorist attacks. Two more people were also present there, Digvijay Singh and former Maharashtra IPS Hemant Karkare. As he began to share information about the terrorist, the other two members who were present in the office were ‘sad’ because the most number of terrorist attacks were carried out by the members of only one particular religion.

He has written about Mumbai 26/11 attacks at great length and also named IAS, IPS officers and many big politicians and their lax attitude. He supports his claims with evidence and examples. When the investigation after the attack started, it was found that intelligence had already provided several credible inputs about the plan to carry out a terrorist attack on Mumbai but Ministry of Home Affairs did not pay any heed to those inputs.

Mani devotes an entire chapter to P.Chidambaram. According to him, NIA under Chidambaram, “overlooked the first set of evidence and replaced it with the evidence supporting the Hindu terror narrative.” He has claimed that NIA officers who were involved in the investigation of terror cases have off the record accepted that there is no evidence of any sort of Hindu Terror. Mani has made many shocking revelations in his book. One is that political quarters were against giving any hardcore evidence against Dawood Ibrahim to the United Nations.

When P Chidambaram took charge he ostensibly established more stringent measures to counter terror. Two new security bills were passed and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was set up. But, as the author reveals: “it was amply clear that under the garb of new initiatives, the new Home Minister had pulled wool over the nation’s eyes.” All procedures were violated as the Minister went on to appoint his own man as the Director-General of NIA who in turn built his team with men handpicked from Kerala or Kashmir. The author recounts that the sole aim of NIA throughout 2009-2010 was to strengthen the non-existent Hindu terror concept by any means possible. The “first set of evidences” were being “overlooked” and replaced with evidences supporting the “Hindu terror narrative”, and yet no one could stop this farce.

The mainstream media has maintained a stoic silence about the explosive content of this book. The author recounts how he was summoned to the office of the Home Minister in 2006 to furnish details of investigations at which point he realised that his political bosses were not happy with the information that “a particular religious group was involved in most of the terror attacks.”

The book outlines the procedure adopted with regard to investigating the blasts in Malegaon. Preliminary enquiries pointed to “an extremely orthodox Islamic group known as Ahl-e-Hadith .” When Karkare took charge of the case, the narrative was changed to incorporate Hindu organisations as prime suspects. The author explains how it typically took five to six months to identify perpetrators of various terror attacks. This included the time to complete rigorous procedures, obtain clearances and various other activities in order to ensure that the right persons were arrested. But, in the Malegaon case it took just 35 days for Karkare to determine that Malegaon was the “handiwork of Hindu terror groups, although the field level police personnel of the range continued to report that Ahl-e-Hadith was involved”. A similar approach was taken to various other cases including the Samjhauta Express blast, Ajmer Sharif blast and Batla House encounter.

Mani declares, “At a time when we had the best team in the IS division of the MHA, the attitude of the government in power and intent to colour every terror incident as “saffron” and their ambivalence in acting against the real perpetrators of the terror attacks was making this country a cannon fodder for those with evil designs against India.”

The author reveals how intelligence inputs about a possible coastal attack were ignored due to interventions by someone from the topmost political office. Also, despite the overwhelming evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai terror, there were attempts to play down the role of Pakistan even from the Indian side. A failed effort to kidnap the author led him to clues about a plan to trade an officer of the MHA for Ajmal Kasab so that the terrorist would not be interrogated and his Pakistani citizenship would not be established. RVS Mani faced a kidnapping plot against him from the insiders of India's security agencies and was stabbed by burning cigarette buds to establish various notorious narratives to score cheap political points.

Another interesting aspect that is disclosed in the book is that unlike what is portrayed in public discourse, the US gave direct access to NIA to question terrorist David Headley . Headley cooperated with both the US and the Indian authorities. The MHA led by Chidambaram received the entire report of the investigating team, however his office “excised portions of the Headley testimony to NIA” before submitting them to courts.

The author reflects that while “the top brass intervening in the regular security procedures would never be exposed before the public, the intelligence and security establishments would be blamed for abject failure although they had done their professional work in an exemplary and outstanding manner.”

The author has personally paid a heavy price for deposing in the Ishrat Jahan case. Enormous pressure was put on him to testify that there was no encounter in the case and that an “innocent” Muslim girl was framed as a terrorist involved in a plot to assassinate the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

On 20 July 2010, then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh hosted a lunch in which US ambassador Timothy Roemer asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi about 'Lashkar-e-Taiba's activities in the region and its immediate threat to India'. Wikileaks cables reveal that Rahul Gandhi responded by saying that 'the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups'.

Mani reveals that there is a strong indication that somewhere high in the portals of power there was an attempt to portray even the 26/11 Mumbai attacks as the work of the so-called Hindu terror despite substantial evidence of Pakistan-based terror outfit executing the massacre.