Thursday, August 16, 2012



( This is an update of a paper titled “From Internet To Islamnet” that I had presented at an international conference at Bali, Indonesia, in October,2005. Available at  )

What we have been seeing since May,2012, is a proxy jihad through the Internet and modern means of communications such as the cellphone and I-pad being waged by a new generation of IT savvy jihadis still unidentified.

2. It started in the Rakhine State of Myanmar following  violent clashes between some Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims whom Myanmar looks upon as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The clashes resulted in about 80 fatalities from both the communities and the internal displacement of a large number of Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.

3. Following these clashes, a group of as yet unidentified Islamic elements, possibly based in the Myanmar-Bangladesh-India region, started a vicious campaign through the Internet and the new social media sites for the demonization of the Myanmar Government and for promoting Islamic solidarity.

4.President Thein Sein of Myanmar was reported to have told a delegation of the OIC that visited Myanmar last week that through  the Internet and its social media sites these elements circulated highly exaggerated reports of what they called a genocide of Muslims in Myanmar with the help of morphed pictures of violent incidents in other countries not related to Myanmar.

5. This Psyjihad was meant to destabilise not only the Rakhine State of Myanmar, but also the Sheikh Hasina Government of Bangladesh, which has refused to allow the Rohingyas  enter Bangladesh and use it as a rear base for their destabilisation operations in Myanmar.

6.One noticed a similar Psyjihad being waged in India through the Internet and its social media sites by a group of unidentified Muslim extremists after the outbreak of violent clashes between some Bodos and illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in Kokrajhar and other Bodo areas of Assam last month.

7.These elements used the Internet and its social media sites for the dissemination of exaggerated accounts of the violence in Assam and for re-circulating the fabricated Psyjihad material produced by or on behalf of the Rohingyas of the Rakhine State.

8. These sought to inflame the passions of impressionable Muslims in different parts of India during the holy fasting period of Ramadan. It resulted in incidents of shocking violence and vandalisation by some Muslims during and after a public meeting held in the Azad Maidan of Mumbai on August 5,2012, to protest against the violent incidents in the Assam State of India and in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.

9. Some Muslims incited to violence by the Psyjihad material and the highly emotional speeches attacked police men, including women members of the police, vandalised a memorial in homage of the Unknown Indian Soldier, attacked sections of the media and burnt down some media vehicles. While the anger of such incited Muslim extremist mobs against the police is nothing unusual, its anger against the media was. Its rage against sections of the media was due to the fact that, in its view, the media did not give sufficient publicity to the Psyjihad material produced by or on behalf of the Rohingyas.

10. After the Mumbai incidents which have been condemned by many leaders of the Muslim community, these unidentified elements have been directing their Psyjihad against people from the North-East, who have been working in Pune and certain cities of South India like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai in order to create feelings of insecurity in their minds and make them go back to the North-East.

11. There is an underlying message in this new phase of the Psyjihad directed at people from the North-East living and working in South India and Pune. That is: “If the Government does not regularise the illegal immigration of Bangladeshis into the North-East, we will not allow people from the North-East to migrate to work in other parts of India.” One has to note that the Psyjihad directed at the people from the North-East is not based on their religion. Many of them are Christians and not Hindus. It is based on their right to migrate to other parts of India.

12. As a result of the feelings of insecurity created in the minds of people from the North-East in South India, many have already left for their homes, creating the danger of a fresh wave of communal violence when the displaced people of the North-East reach their homes with their tales of how they were intimidated resulting in their decision to come back home.

13.During the last 20 years the mental divide between the people of the North-East and those in the rest of India, that had given rise to different insurgencies, had disappeared. The insurgencies started losing public support and a large number of youngsters from the North-East had started identifying themselves with the rest of India. Many of them migrated to other parts of India in search of jobs. They were welcomed by people in other parts of India. A process of natural integration between the people of the North-East and other parts of India began.

14.In the Psyjihad directed against the people from the North-east, one sees the beginning of an insidious attempt to re-create the mental divide and drive a new wedge.

15. Unfortunately, one does not have the impression that our intelligence agencies and police have been able to keep pace with the evolution of the Psyjihad being waged through the Internet, mobile phones and I-pads. One does not see signs of any coherent and co-ordinated attempt to counter and neutralise it, identify the elements behind this Psyjihad and act against them firmly under the laws of the land.

16.In addition to neutralising this Psyjihad, it is important to initiate urgent measures to restore the sense of security of the people from the North-East by interacting with them continuously and vigorously and by providing them additional protection. The civil society too has an important role in this matter. This is the time to further strengthen our bonds of solidarity with them and reassure them that the civil society will stand by them.

17. All political parties should resist the urge, which could prove suicidal for the nation, to exploit these developments for their partisan advantage. This is the time for everybody to come together and unite against the new breed of extremists, who can turn out to be more dangerous than those of the past who relied on improvised explosive devices for destabilising us. ( 17-8-2012)

(The  writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:  Twitter @SORBONNE75)


nri2008 said...

Dear Ramanji,

Your message is most appropriate and timely.



Unknown said...

The monster of Islamic terrorism is, with passing time, getting more dangerous, hard to control and more devastating. The problem in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune was totally unusual and caught everyone unawares. The economic costs are incalculable. The threat, in whatever forms, to civic life and institutions has to be neutralized and the first step is to accept that Indian Muslims are gullible to being whipped into an emotional frenzy on global issues of no relevance to their day-to-day life. The Mumbai madness has proved it. Their ability to hold civil society to ransom has to be neutralized. If this needs to be done with force, so be it.
Articles such as yours seem to move around circles without addressing the issue with sincerity. A mere play of words. The day is not far when India’s territorial integrity comes under threat due to such events. Not a single shot fired and our borders, undefined as they are will become impossible to regulate.
The ISI has really proved that Al-Qaeda is now a global terror multinational. If there are any doubts on that count, they have been proved. The West will pretend that it is a problem only with the irrational East till something explodes in their backyard. Supporting the terrorist state of Pakistan and hoping to ring-fence themselves from the effects of their support cannot carry on for long.

Suresh Mandan said...

I believe the Govt. is aware of the people who are playing this mischief through inet/phones. Much damage has already been done.Playing with doctored pictures to arouse passions was exposed by a Pak.journlist-cum-blogger who analysed each and every picture on the Mynamar and Assam issue.

Paresh said...

The mass-exodus of 30,000 people from the NE after receiving ONE threatening SMS says it all about ordinary citizen's faith in our law enforcement and Government's ability to protect its citizens. Time to promote our new Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to Prime Minister and PM Manmohan Singh to President! :)

Abin Puthiyath said...

And what do you think about raising of Pakisthani national flag at Hyderabad by some disloyal anti-national elements?