Hari Kumar from the New York Times has reported that Indian Police have nine people from a Hindu Terrorist cell into custody:
“For the first time in this Hindu-majority nation of 1.1 billion people, the police have announced the arrest of people who are accused of being part of a Hindu terrorist cell.”
“Police officials in western Maharashtra State said they had arrested the nine suspects and charged them with murder and conspiracy in connection with the bombing in September of a Muslim-majority area in Malegaon, a small city. Six people, all Muslims, died in the explosion, which was among a string of terrorist attacks in Indian cities in recent months.”
“Blame for several of these attacks has been placed on radical Islamist groups; one group, calling itself Indian Mujahedeen, claimed responsibility for several attacks. But the arrests of the Hindu suspects in the Malegaon bombing raised the possibility of another source of terrorism, involving a radical Hindu fringe.”
“‘This is a very dangerous trend,’ said Ajit Doval, former chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau, who added that it could undercut efforts to bolster pluralism in India.”
“Those arrested by the police antiterrorism squad in Maharashtra over the past two weeks included a Hindu nun with links to the principal opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and an army colonel, who is suspected of having provided ammunition and training to the bombers.”
“The Indian Army has long viewed itself as being free of ideological or political bias, so the arrest of an army officer was deeply troubling to the military. ‘I can tell you that we are taking it seriously,’ said the defense minister, A. K. Antony.”
“The arrests reinforced growing suspicions over the last few years of a potential threat from Hindu extremists. In August, two members of a right-wing Hindu group called the Bajrang Dal were killed while assembling bombs in the northern industrial city of Kanpur. In 2006, two people who were thought to belong to the same group died under similar circumstances in a bomb-making workshop in Nanded.”
“Officials in the Central Bureau of Investigation told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday that investigators had established a link between the Nanded group and the Malegaon bombing.”
Bal Thackeray, the leader of another Hindu hard-line group, the Shiv Sena, wrote in June in the group’s weekly magazine that Hindus should defend themselves from Islamist attacks by forming their own squads of suicide bombers.
“The threat of Islamic terror in India is rising,” Mr. Thackeray wrote, according to a translation from the Marathi language that was published in The Hindu, a national English-language daily. “It is time to counter the same with Hindu terror. Hindu suicide squads should be readied to ensure the existence of Hindu society and to protect the nation.”
You know what I think? I think, I think its time for moderates of every religious tradition to stand up and be heard. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, everyone. That with one voice we might shout, extremism is unacceptable, violent repression of the beliefs of others is unacceptable.