Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has announced a reward of Rs 51 lakh for anybody giving a clue to solving the serial blast conspiracy in Ahmedabad. This shows the determination of Modi to reach to the root of the problem, which in his own words has taken the proportions of a proxy war on India.
The terrorists are targeting the arteries and nerve centres of Indian economy. They are striking at will maiming and destroying thousands of lives and they have succeeded in creating a sense of insecurity and apprehension about the destiny of the country. The despair is the result of the complete failure of the political establishment and the security forces in unearthing the plot. We have always prided on India'slegendary resilience. We have faced many wars and hundreds of years of foreign domination. The country has overcome the challenges of development. We have faced the calamities of poverty and scarcity. But India is today saddled with a crisis of undefined proportions, we know the enemy, but we cannot identify it. We know that the enemy is within our reach but we are not able to separate them from among us. The magnitude of the scary situation is that India today is like a sitting duck to terror shenanigans.
The situation was never so dire and hopeless as it is today. We have learnt to live with terror. India has faced more terror attacks than any other country in the world during peacetime. Apart from conflict zones in West Asia, no other democracy in the world has been a target of premeditated and organised terror attack of this kind for so long and in such regular interval. For the last 25 years we are living with terror. To begin with it was concentrated in a few states. It was confined to few identified grievance segments and their mischief was limited to few select pockets. But in the last decade terrorism has acquired a monstrous dimension and it is no more characterised as cross-border conspiracy. Till 2004, every single terror attack culprit was nabbed and put to justice.
Over a period, the security apparatus also gained a lot of experience in fighting terror, at least in containing its damage potential. But now all this appears to be a comment on the past.
In the last four years there were more attacks than ever before and very few arrests and almost nil convictions. Not a single terror attack in the last four years has been fully solved and the culprits brought to book. Over 3500 Indians have lost their lives, more than double that number have become handicapped for life, thousands of families have gone bankrupt, lost their hopes of survival. Equal number of children are orphaned, billions worth of property have turned to ashes in these attacks. In Surat 23 unexploded bombs were unearthed. From other parts in the last fortnight alone another dozen bombs were defused. What does all this prove? That India has become a soft target? That the security forces are clueless and are groping in the dark?
These attacks are the handiwork of a highly motivated, hugely funded and technically sophisticated network or groups of network involving thousands of people. But very few arrests have been made. No concrete evidence leading to the assailants is available. And the pattern has been that after a few weeks the authorities have abandoned even the pretence of pursuing the cases. This has been the record be it in Lucknow, Varanasi, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Malegaon, Jaipur or Bangalore. The security forces are proving either leaderless or lethargic. Earlier there was the practice of detailed combing operations in the areas of suspicion to nab the criminals. Now because of the fear of communal backlash this practice has been abandoned. The terrorists have a political face and an articulate political voice in India. They have more support in the media than the voices of nationalism and sanity. They enjoy political patronage and pampering from the ruling UPA, which has communalised terror investigations, cosseted communal elements in the minority community and made the repeal of POTA an act of goodwill towards the Muslims. Any determined action on the part of the police to unravel the plot behind terror attack was frustrated in the name of not harassing the minority community. Not only that. They have even offered justification for every terror attack either on post-Godhra riots or Ayodhya demolition or the offensive cartoon elsewhere. All this has shattered the confidence of the security forces. There is no political will or leadership to tackle the menace.
The response of other democracies to Muslim terror should be a lesson for India. Countries like UK, USA, Russia and Israel have also been victims of terror. But they confronted the challenge differently. That is why there were very few recurrences in those countries. Modi has shown a resolve which few other politicians have shown. If one case is conclusively solved, all others will fall in place. And will offer some hope for future.