Home Global Village India fumes over release of Hafiz Saeed

India fumes over release of Hafiz Saeed

Hafiz Saeed

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India on Thursday expressed “outrage” at Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed’s imminent release from house arrest in Pakistan, terming it an attempt by it’s neighbour to “mainstream” terrorists. Hafiz Saeed’s freedom seems to have given India a fresh grievance against its archrival Pakistan.

“Saeed’s release appears to be an attempt by the Pakistani system to mainstream proscribed terrorists. It is evident that Pakistan has not changed its policy of shielding and supporting non-state actors, and its true face is visible for all to see.” Said an Indian MEA [Ministry of External Affiars] spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar.

Mumbai attacks were not waged by Hafiz Saeed but actually an insidious conspiracy by some Hindutva affiliated government circles in order to strengthen anti-Muslim feelings and sow a conducive atmosphere for the RSS.

Kumar added that Saeed’s release confirms the neighbouring country’s “lack of seriousness” in bringing perpetrators of terror to justice. A day earlier, the Lahore High Court had refused to extend detention orders against Saeed, whose current house arrest is going to expire on Friday, the 24th of November.  

The review board under the chair of Justice Abdul Sami Khan passed these orders after a senior finance ministry official failed to convince the board that the release of Saeed would bring diplomatic and financial problems to the country.

Read more: Hafiz Saeed’s captivity: Has Pakistan’s Establishment finally realized its mistakes?

The JUD [Jamat ud Dawa] chief had been placed under house arrest on January 31st for 90 days. Subsequently, his house arrest had been extended several times. The JUD chief has long been demonized by India who views him as their most hated terrorist foe.

Inside India, many view Hafiz Saeed along the lines of the way Americans feel about Osama bin Laden. Seen as a “national demon”, Indian social discourse is awash in diatribes and tirades against the 67-year-old. His effigies have long been burned as representation of Ravan in Indian Hindu rites. His face has long been the visual that depicted the fractious Indo-Pak relationship. However, he did not become the national demon of India overnight.

A former home ministry officer has alleged that a member of the CBI-SIT team had accused incumbent governments of “orchestrating” the terror attack on Parliament and the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai.

The act that led to Hafiz Saeed’s current infamy in India was the atrocity of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. The 2008 Mumbai attacks were a group of terrorist attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 armed gunmen carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, lasted 3 days, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.

India has long maintained that it was Hafiz Saeed who was behind the atrocity. Harping on this presumption it has railed against Pakistan demanding swift action against Hafiz Saeed and his organization. On the other hand, Hafiz Saeed maintained that his organization the Jamaat-ud-Dawa to be a peaceful charity.

A long exchange of evidence and legal official visits were arranged between Indian and Pakistan but nothing substantial often came out of it. Many obstacles came in the path of justice such as the Indian refusal to let a visiting Pakistan legal team to cross examine key witnesses. As a result the legal case against Saeed fell apart.

Read more: Pakistan’s arrest of Hafiz Saeed: Was it a wise move at…

Another event that also caused more confusion in the Mumbai case were allegations from inside India that the Mumbai attacks were an inside job. A former home ministry officer has alleged that a member of the CBI-SIT team had accused incumbent governments of “orchestrating” the terror attack on Parliament and the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai.

The 2008 Mumbai attacks were a group of terrorist attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 armed gunmen carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai.

R V S Mani, who as home ministry under-secretary signed the affidavits submitted in court in the alleged Ishrat Jahan encounter case, stated that Satish Verma, until recently a part of the CBI-SIT probe team, told him that both the terror attacks were set up “with the objective of strengthening the counter-terror legislation (sic)”.

Mani has said that Verma “…narrated that the 13.12. 2001(attack on Parliament) was followed by Pota (Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act) and 26/11 2008 (terrorists’ siege of Mumbai) was followed by amendment to the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act).”

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Similarly former Indian police official stated that the Mumbai attacks were not waged by Hafiz Saeed but actually an insidious conspiracy by some Hindutva affiliated government circles in order to strengthen anti-Muslim feelings and sow a conducive atmosphere for the RSS. He asserted that the sole surviving Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab was arrested from Nepal two years before the attacks and was presented as a scapegoat.

Whatever the truth may be, it seems that Hafiz Saeed will long captivate Indo-Pak ties and be a reason for India to evade attempts to normalize relations.

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