Terrorists struck in a big way at the financial heart of India on July 11, 2006, on Mumbai'slifeline, that is the local trains running in the city'swestern suburbs. The terrorists had chosen only the first class compartments, with a few to escape, as the number of passengers therein is much less than those who travel in the normal second class compartments. In the blasts, at least 200 persons have been killed and over 650 injured. The targets and the timings were chosen carefully to cause maximum damage and hence maximum publicity, to show how such people could strike at will and get away. In less than 20 minutes between 6.24 PM to 6.45 PM, the whole operation was over. Railway traffic on the busiest of the three lines used by commuters to travel to and from work, at the venues of the blast is usually at the peak, at those hours, as lakhs return home,
RDX, a deadly material has been used in the improvised explosive devise (IED), used for causing the blasts.
This is the worst terrorist attack in Mumbai after the 1993 serial blasts, which killed over 257 people and left more than 715 injured. Incidentally on the same day, the terrorists had killed eight people, six of them tourists, in a series of grenade attacks in Srinagar.
In the present scenario of terrorism, old laws of game of war and fair play have become irrelevant. In reality, in these days of well planned high-tech terrorism, the conventional and customary approaches in dealing with new age crime have become irrelevant and outdated. No wars these days, especially the low intensity slow bleeding one, are fought by the armed forces or by four-star generals sitting in their operation rooms. The days of Alexander and Napoleon are over. The noises, made by the political parties calling the terrorists cowards for attacking innocent civilian rather sound hollow for the simple reason, that the terrorists are not fighting an open war, but are bleeding the nation. Political and public memory is short and is overcome by the fresh events.
There is no doubt that the terrorists and their mentor Pakistan are following a well planned policy to hemorrhage India. They do not feel scared, as India, so far, has failed to send a clear message that it is going to be intolerant of terror. Perhaps they are not mistaken, as the government signals fluctuate and are contradictory. At one time in 2000, the Government unilaterally announced cease fire and halt of all operations against terrorism and kept on extending it, till it realised that they were no takers for what appeared at that time and even now, that it was a weak kneed policy. After the present Government took over, it has been talking of an on going peace process, without ensuring peace at home. Regrettably, we do not have even a law to deal with terrorism. The Governments in power, are following a policy of ?willing to wound, but afraid to strike?. Apart from not having any law, the fight against terrorism is left to each State Government on the specious plea, that law and order is a state subject. Politicians of all hues are reluctant to take any firm stand on the mistaken understanding that taking action or not taking action, can affect their vote banks. It is fallacious, for the simple reason that terrorism affects all communities and religions. A normal citizen, irrespective of his caste or creed, is interested in peace and tranquility. Any disturbance or upsetting events, affects both his livelihood and personal security.
There is nothing communal about dealing with terrorism and it should be very clearly understood. There are no gains, political or otherwise, or a ?correct political approach? in soft pedaling the issue. Obviously, there is a connection between the incidents in Kashmir and Mumbai blasts and you do not need a Solomon or an intelligence agency to tell you about it. The Government'ssupreme duty is to ensure the life and security of citizens. It would not be wrong for the citizens to conclude that the Government have been far from successful in doing this. The present situation is totally unacceptable, deplorable and totally undesirable. The terrorists are not hitting and killing the lives, but also our economic system, whether it is in Kashmir or Mumbai or Delhi or Bangalore or Varanasi or Akashardham or our Parliament.
All the economic development and liberalisation is of no use if we continue to be liberal with the terrorists and allow them the run of the land from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Our intelligence agencies routinely issue warning and so called red alerts over anything and every thing. A kind of ennui has come to be felt on the policy ?I told you?. This needs to be curbed, and replaced by giving pin pointed intelligence. The Government had decided to give extension of service to some selected officials dealing with the security, in the interest of continuity. The only continuity has been the intensified continuity of terrorism and repeat an nauseam of the clich'sabout dealing with the terrorism. The proof of any policy is its implementation. But before it can be implemented, a policy must exist instead of adhocism. How many more people should die before the Government wakes up.
(The writer is former CBI director and can be contacted at [email protected])