By Udayan Namboodiri
Is the failure of the UPA government and its Communist backers in enforcing national security caused by incompetence as most people imagine? This is unacceptable against the evidence. After the Jehanabad jail carnage carried out by Maoist ultras enjoying the wink of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, one does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to suspect a method behind the mad direction to strategic thinking that is flowing from the very top.
The attack on the jail was carried out by 1,000 armed Naxalites who moved through thickly populated areas on an unforested region to carry out their operation. This was no guerilla attack that took the police by surprise, but a well-planned operation to revive the Congress-UPA'sflagging prospects in the ongoing Bihar elections. If the October 29 Delhi blasts was an intelligence failure revealing the tattered state of India'ssecurity establishment in contrast to an ever-efficient Jihadi machine, the Jehanabad attack signified a collapse of our homeland security.
What happened to the well known defences of our towns and cities bequeathed by the British Raj? It wasn'tfor the first time that the Communist criminals masquerading with ?revolutionary? mask have exposed the woeful state of India'shomeland security. The Jehanabad incident was preceded by the loot of the Koraput armoury on February 6, 2004 which also caught the administration unawares. The Naxalites looted all the weaponry they could find at the armoury by cutting off all communications and erecting roadblocks which prevented the security forces from rushing reinforcements.
On June 23, 2004, the same weapons were used by the Communists to go on a rampage in Madhubani and East Champaran districts. The pernicious electoral arithmetic on which the ?secular? combine is banking upon for returning to power in Patna has made Jehanabad possible. After three rounds of polling it was amply clear even to secularism'smost ardent cheerleaders that the RJD-Congress would not find the going smooth. The low voter turnout, an average of 45 per cent, clearly showed that the Election Commission'sunprecedented measures had succeeded in pre-empting rigging.
The attack on the jail was carried out by 1,000 armed Naxalites who moved through thickly populated areas on an unforested region to carry out their operation. This was no guerilla attack that took the police by surprise.
The huge ?mandates? that Lalu enjoyed in the past were nothing but fiction, the result of booth-capturing and false-voting carried out right under the nose of a pliant administration. Lalu'slast hope lay in whipping up a state of frenzy within his Muslim-Yadav vote bank. That could only be done by charging up the Ranvir Sena to a point of frenzy. And that could be a valid explanation behind Jehanabad. The intention behind raiding that jail was not so much to free the Naxalites housed there (the sloppy escape plan proved it?most of them were recaptured) but to kill a few upper caste inmates in the hope of provoking the upper caste landlords into staging a retributive massacre.
And, by the cold, cruel logic at the heart of most ?secular? strategies, this was a sure way to ensure last minute polarisation. If only the Ranvir Sena could be goaded into committing another mass murder of poor Yadavs, the latter community could be drawn to the polling stations in larger numbers, thereby ensuring Lalu'scontinued dominance. That Governor's(read 10 Janpath?s) rule facilitated in the implementation of this macabre plot was clearly borne out by Lalu'sstatement on the day following the Jehanabad incident. He pointed a finger towards the ineptness and inefficiency of the administration, but not once did he blame Buta Singh for it.
Sonia Gandhi'sman in Patna, along with Home Minister Shivraj Patil, must accept responsibility because Bihar is under President'srule. The last excuse – too much concentration on poll duties – is simply not valid because the recent Bihar experience holds that the Naxalites form one of the principal reasons for fattening the security apparatus during election time. Since there were a large number of Naxalite prisoners inside that jail, the act of leaving just a dozen ill-armed policemen on duty was not a simple oversight, but a criminal folly. In the usual blame game which followed the incident, the Home Ministry in Delhi sought to present itself in better light than Raj Bhavan in Patna when it claimed that it had ?specific intelligence? along with dates.
If that is so, then why wasn'tthe State capital forewarned? In their narrow pursuit of electoral dividends, the ?secularists? seem to have overlooked the psychological impact created by the Naxalites after Jehanabad. A jail, whether in Jehanabad or Kollam in Kerala, is the biggest symbol of the state'sauthority. When guerillas, whatever their hue, stage a successful raid on it and free its inmates or kill them, it devastates the morale of the enforcers of that state'sauthority and weaken national resolve. Like the famous raid on the Bastille prison which is widely believed to have kick-started the French Revolution in 1789, such operations, when fruitful, have tremendous symbolic value.
Now, thanks to pecuniary interests, not only has homeland security been compromised, but the image of India as a nation resolved to fight terror has been compromised forever. And, completing the perimeter of deceit and treachery all around Jehanabad, is the CPI(M) and its lackeys in the Left. While the Chief Minister of Chhatisgarh, another Naxalite-infested State, has demanded that the Centre develop a national policy to tackle the Maoist strategy of combating the Maoist scourge, Sitaram Yehchury, the media savvy CPI(M) Rajya Sabha Member has debunked the necessity of one. This exposes the clear connection between the ?overground? Communists and the ?underground? variety. The CPI(M), CPI and the others who make up the block of 62 Lok Sabha seats which are so crucial for the UPA'ssustenance, is nothing but a moderate front of the Maoists.
In the larger background, we see Pakistan'sPresident, General Pervez Musharraf, driving India down the blind lane of a ?peace process?. The spate of terrorist bombings witnessed in Jammu and Kashmir over the past week was a clear sign of his resolve to seek a ?final solution? to the Kashmir dispute. In fact, in an interaction with the international media recently, he said as much. Like on the homeland front, the UPA is guilty of destroying the national resolve on the external front as well. It has confused the war against terrorism with its vote bank compulsions (recall Patil'sfamous line on terrorists being ?our brothers and sisters??) and exposed innocent Indian Diwaili shoppers to terrorist attacks.
(The author is Senior Editor, The Pioneer.)