By now, the drill is getting familiar after each terrorist attack?An emergency cabinet meeting, declaration of nation-wide alert, proforma condemnations, pious statements that the government would fight terror at any cost, appeal for calm and appreciation of people'sresilience against such attacks. This goes on for a week. Meanwhile, the security forces will gun down a few and brand them terrorists responsible for the attack. Then, all will be forgiven and forgotten till the next attack.
According to reports, there are 3000 madrasas in Maharashtra with a strength of 200,000 students. 500 madrasas are in Mumbai alone, and it is believed they are the potential breeding grounds for SIMI'sactivities. What is the sole objective of SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) that was formed in Aligarh in 1977. It is to ?liberate India by converting it to an Islamic land?.
What is the role of SIMI in 7/11 blasts? They are the local collaborators of the Islamist terrorist groups operating from foreign soil-an euphemism for Pakistan-in any attack against Indian targets. SIMI'srole was very much in evidence on Black Tuesday as well. It is possible that the intelligence staff might have tipped off the Police sources. The Police had to think one hundred times before taking any action. The moment the Police apprehend a bunch of people bearing Islamic names, there would be a howl of protests from our home-grown Liberals that minorities are harassed and what would be the reaction of political class to such a development is not difficult to imagine. Look at the way one of the key investigators and deputy inspector general of Mumbai was shifted when his probe took him to the doorsteps of an MLA for his links with the arrested terrorists of LeT and SIMI. When this is the attitude of the political establishment, can we trust them to fight terror?
In fact, SIMI has been receiving the unstinted support of our great secular champion and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, and he was the one who vehemently opposed a ban on the SIMI when it was imposed in 2001. Of course, Mulayam was not alone and he was in the company of a good number of so-called secular leaders who were opposed to a ban on SIMI. Very recently, the Uttar Pradesh Government had written a letter to the Centre stating that the state opposed the ban on SIMI as it has not carried out any unlawful activities in the state after September 2005. The most powerful English national daily reported on July 9 – just two days before the Mumbai carnage – that ?lack of political will to enforce the ban imposed by Centre on SIMI by UP Government might play havoc with the state'ssecurity as the organisation is regrouping under a different name and could trigger another series of destructive activities?. On 7/11, the only change was the scene of action with SIMI'srole being the same whether Uttar Pradesh or Maharashtra. Quoting an unidentified official source, the daily reported that ?with elections round the corner, vote bank is more important for Samajwadi Party leadership. They don'twant to annoy the minorities and this is the sole reason why no concrete steps are being taken to put effective check on their activities, what to talk of arresting the main leaders?. In any other country seriously fighting terror, leaders like Mulayam would have been put behind the bars and his antics exposed besides dismissal of the government headed by a sympathiser of terrorist outfits. But in India, minorityism is the mantra and not the security of its citizens.
More than the intelligence failure, what provides the atmosphere for the terrorists to strike at will and at a time and place of their choice is the cavalier manner in which the political class reacts or fails to react to crucial events of communal nature.
First, it is inconceivable to think that without the support of the local population, terrorism from across the border or terrorism of Al Quaida brand can develop roots on the Indian soil. We have seen it in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Take for instance, the public protest by people from the old city of Hyderabad when the Gujarat Police came to nab an accused in the murder of former Gujarat Home Minister. The state government was a silent spectator. Well, there are also quite a few admirers in Hyderabad for Azam Ghouri, a key LeT operative who was killed in an encounter by Hyderabad police. Will the establishment have the courage to put such elements who provide shelter to the terrorists under the scanner and apprehend them? When there is no political will to do that, it is better not to talk of ?war against terror?. There are also reports that the RDX consignment caught by the cops in Aurangabad and Nasik was ferried from Hyderabad, the hub of ISI in India.
Let'salso look at various instances which provide a morale booster to the terrorists and declare to the world that India is a very soft state.
The latest one was what happened in Bhiwandi. Normally, any citizen or group of citizens would welcome a police station in their immediate neighbourhood, despite occasional police misbehaviour, as it would provide security. But the minority population of Bhiwandi was opposed to such a move and the opposition did not stop with peaceful protests. They took law into their hands leading to police firing which killed two protestors. As a sequel to this, the minority mob, in a brazen attempt, broke the skull of two cops. What is the reaction of the ?secular? crowd? Deafening silence.
Kerala Assembly'sunanimous resolution for the release of Abdul Nasser Madani, an undertrial in Coimbatore jail for masterminding the Coimbatore blasts in 1998 that killed 58 innocent people besides injuring hundreds, speaks volumes on the mindset of our vote bank strategists. This, both the LDF and the UDF expected, would pay attractive dividends at the recently held assembly elections by placating the minority sentiments. What harm Madani would cause in spreading more terror in the already fertile Kerala ground, when he is out, was not the concern of the political class. What all they wanted were votes and for this they were ready to barter the lives of innocent citizens.
Civil Libertywallas are another category as indirect abettors in providing the ?right? atmosphere for terrorism to grow. For them, the right to life of the terrorists is more sacred than the right to life of ordinary citizens. When the ATS foiled the attempt of Lashkar terrorists to rampage the headquarters of the RSS in Nagpur, and in the process killed three terroritsts, civil liberty groups swung into action with the all too familiar fact finding committees. Everyone knows that facts are ?gathered? before they set out on their mission. They concluded that the ?encounter? was stage managed by the Police. Did they want the Police to wait till the ultras complete their mission?
Where did the ?seculars? hide themselves when Ram Vilas Paswan and Lalu Prasad Yadav conducted their poll campaigns with Osama bin Laden look-alike in tow to appease the minorities? What sort of a message it would have sent to the jehadis?
India must be the only country among the terror-infested nations to have revoked an anti-terror law like POTA. The excuse for this was two-fold. One, the law was misused and two, even when POTA was in force, there were terrorist attacks on Raghunath temple in Jammu and Aksharadham temple in Gandhinagar. Misuse of law cannot be the excuse for revoking a law and if that is the yardstick there will be no law in our statute book. Yes, there were attacks even when POTA was in force. Just because there are burglaries even when the doors are closed, can we throw open the doors saying anyway there are burglaries?