The national security advisor M.K. Narayanan makes shocking disclosures on internal security but his government is least bothered about what he discloses. This is the second time we are commenting on Narayanan'srevelations in the last one year because of the seriousness and sensitivity of the issues involved. The UPA government has during its tenure made the country porous by all possible means and as our columnist has analysed in the accompanying piece the country is being threatened by the Islamists to a state of blackmail.
Islamists are not the only problem. Narayanan has from time to time warned about the threat from Maoists, ISI elements, their sleeper cells spread all over and across Bangladesh and Nepal, China helping Pakistan build up bases in the Indian Ocean and also about the terrorists investing heavily in the Indian stock exchange and making huge profit to fund terror operations. Apart from these startling exposes there was hardly any follow-up action on any of these alarming warnings from the government side.
In the latest disclosure, Narayanan has said that there are as many as 800 terrorist cells operating in the country with ?external support?. These terror modules, he said, had been uncovered by intelligence agencies. Without naming any country, Narayanan said that there was inspiration as well as support from abroad for terrorist activities being carried out in India.
Remember it was only in June 2006, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh claimed that though India had the largest number of Muslims living in a democratic polity, there are no Muslim supporters of Al Qaeda. This was a hyperbole, many observers had pointed out then. A few months later when an Indian Muslim was arrested in Australia as a terror suspect in connection with the London bombings, Dr Singh sympathised saying that he could not sleep thinking the plight of the mother of the terror accused. This again stunned the nation. Because before and after that there were many occasions when any Prime Minister in his place would have lost his sleep for his failure to protect the innocent victims of terror across the length and breadth of the country who lost lives and limbs in savage terror attacks. Those blood curdling, gory pictures of barbarian cruelty did not make the Prime Minister lose his sleep. A thought Dr Singh should consider when he addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15.
On the eve of the country's62nd Independence Day what Narayanan said should deeply stir the national psyche. Narayanan made these comments while talking to a Singapore-based newspaper about investigations in the serial blasts which rocked Ahmedabad and Bangalore recently. The police and intelligence agencies have often spoken about this alarming situation in hushed tones, but this is the first time a senior government official has come out in public about the extent to which terrorism has made inroads into the country.
Narayanan said India was now looking for the brains behind the external support to such terror modules. ?We are concerned that there is a great deal of external inspiration and support, we are also concerned and are looking at a mastermind within the country,? Narayanan told the Straits Times.
Narayanan said some of the terrorist cells were not entirely foreign. ?Clearly, there is some kind of organisation. We have to find out if that organisation is localised or there is an external group or module operating,? he said. Narayanan also expressed concern about terrorists coming up with new methods for causing excessive damage like planting bombs near hospitals, as in the Ahmedabad blasts. ?Copycat systems are coming up. Like putting bombs in vehicles near hospitals soon after blasts, knowing that large congregations will be there and impact will be much greater,? he stated.
While he refrained from making any direct comment on links with international terrorist organisations, he did hint that some of the terror cells in India may be in touch with international terrorist groups. ?One of the things we had hoped would not occur was that of local elements getting sucked into worldwide movement of Al-Qaeda and terrorist-related activity. But if you look at the nature of the blasts, there are a great deal of complementarities in terms of triggering devices, nature of explosives and casings used. All this indicates much more high-grade people are involved in this effort,? Narayanan said.
Clearly, it is time for Dr. Singh to rewrite his pet theory and start thinking out of the box. The terrorists are here. They are well funded and well entrenched and have links with outfits outside and are part of the sanguinary chain of international terrorism. If the UPA has any faith in its internal security advisor it is high time its Home Minister and Prime Minister intsead of talking homilies on terror started tackling ?those misguided, strayed boys? without delay. Or else the nation will fall into dire straits and the history will not forgive them.
It is intriguing that Narayanan did not speak much about what the government is doing to bust these terror cells. India was quick to blame Pakistan'sISI for the blast outside the Indian embassy in Kabul, but it has avoided blaming Pakistan directly for the blasts in the country. With almost all of the terror cells being headed by Muslims, many believe that the government is playing coy about exposing its vote bank. But there are its sympathisers who want to believe that the government coming out in the open with the existence of these terror cells in the form of Narayanan'sstatements might be ?the first sign of India deciding to take the bull by its horns?. A nice thought on this auspicious occasion.