Why does an underworld don who offered the Indian cricket team Toyota cars if they beat Pakistan in Sharjah in 1986 become a resident of Karachi and India's most wanted in 1993?
This columnist had been targeted for saying as much in an article I wrote soon after the Mumbai blasts of 1993 in The Times of India. The blasts were widely seen as a "Muslim conspiracy" with Dawood as the mastermind. The political narrative at the time had an ominous ring of stereotyping an entire community which one found abhorrent and one said as much in a column. At the time, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had publicly announced that a true test of an Indian Muslim's 'patriotism' was if he waved the tricolour at an India-Pakistan match. I pointed out that by this spurious definition even Dawood should be seen as a patriot since he had been seen supporting the Indian team in Sharjah.
Few were willing to recognise the real nub of the argument: one was only asking a central question as to what had changed between October-November 1992 when Dawood was seen cheering the Indian cricket team and March 1993 when he chose to blast the city of his childhood. Till today, no one (except Anurag Kashyap in his brave film Black Friday based on a book by journalist Husain Zaidi) has sought to address this inconvenient truth: why did a gangster involved in gold smuggling and contract killings with several Hindu members in his D company transform himself into an ISI backed terrorist heading a 'Muslims-only' gang?
But before everything else, Rajdeep must answer, why Indian Muslims are so easily accessible to ISI, as suggested by Dr. Rahul Gandhi. There are other minorities but none seems to have such cordial relationship with the enemy. Why it is only Indian Muslims? I have seen myself, the Muslims Ghettos in Rourkela going into a mourning state after every Indian win against Pakistan in Cricket and this moron thought of educating us on `Muslim Conspiracy`. Irony, I must say.
The answer probably lies in the traumatic events of December and January 1992-93 when in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, Mumbai's cosmopolitan veneer was ripped apart by terrible communal riots. If the city's elite and middle class got divided on religious lines, then so did its underworld. Only the latter had Ak-47s and RDX to add a horrific twist to the polarization.
Perhaps this is what Rahul Gandhi was alluding to when in a speech in Indore he spoke of how intelligence officials had told him that ten to fifteen Muslim youth were being sought to be recruited by the ISI in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots. Purely as an academic argument, Rahul may have had some basis for drawing a connection between riots and terrorism.