On Friday Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Times Now channel’s Navika Kumar. Although, the content of this interview should have caused nationwide outrage and should have made headlines in every newspaper on Saturday; it went unnoticed by almost all. This caught the attention of only one journalist, Vijaita Singh of The Hindu newspaper, who reacted in shock on Twitter.
Vijaita wrote, “Home Minister Chowkidar @rajnathsingh on Samjhauta Blasts acquittal: “sarkaar Kyun appeal karegi? Kya Karne Ka matlab hai?” 68 people, including Indians were killed but HM doesn’t want to know who carried out the blasts.”
Home Minister Chowkidar @rajnathsingh on Samjhauta Blasts acquittal: "sarkaar Kyun appeal karegi? Kya Karne Ka matlab hai?" 68 people, including Indians were killed but HM doesn't want to know who carried out the blasts. https://t.co/ok3zGFL2HJ
— vijaita singh (@vijaita) March 22, 2019
Vijaita rightly highlighted the extraordinary statement of the Indian home minister, who said that the government will not appeal the verdict of the anti-terror court in Haryana, which last week acquitted all four accused in the Samjhauta Express terror attack in 2007. 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals, were killed in the February 2007 terror attack targeting the train linking India and Pakistan.
Singh told Times Now disdainfully, “Those who want to appeal can appeal. Why would the government do it. What purpose does that serve?” This was in response to Navika’s question highlighting that 68 people had died in the 2007 terror attack and whether India as a country should seek to punish the culprits or not since the attack had taken place on Indian soil.
Singh’s refusal to appeal the anti-terror court’s order acquitting Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary itself should worry any Indian citizen.
What followed next was even more worrying for India and its citizens, particularly the minorities. Home Minister Singh stunned the anchor by announcing that it was never possible to always catch the culprits of terrorist attacks. He said, “Some times, in many incidents (of terror attacks) it’s not possible to find out who did it. This should not happen, but this happens (culprits are never caught). What will you do?”
This was in response to Navika Kumar’s question on whether India as a country did not need to know about the perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blasts. As if to redeem himself, albeit unsuccessfully, Singh added, “But whatever happened in Samjhauta Express was very sad and unfortunate.”
Singh was asked one more time if he would not like to know whether Pakistan was behind the Samjhauta Express blasts. To this, the Indian home minister said, “My personal stand on this is that Pakistan is always responsible for such terrorist attacks.”
But, an investigation has to continue even to support Singh’s claim that Pakistan was behind the Samjhauta Express blasts. His blunt refusal to either continue with the investigation or challenge the Haryana court’s order shows just how compromised the Indian probe agencies have become under the government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Would Singh’s response have been the same if the victims would have been Hindus?
Also, a bigger question would be if it suits a civilised country to turn a blind eye to an act of terrorism that killed 68 people just because the victims were Muslims and its alleged perpetrators belong to the same ideological clan that Singh draws his inspiration from? It’s unlikely that any reporter will grill Singh on his comments made on Times Now. But unless he comes clean on his extraordinary comments, India’s minorities and anyone who are not considered the BJP’s vote bank must worry about their future under a BJP government.
Has Singh just issued us a chilling warning!
(The author, also a co-founder of Janta Ka Reporter, is a clinical psychologist and often writes on socio-political issues)