One of the reasons of why India is targeted by terrorists so frequently is that we are considered a soft state all over the world. This is clear from the fact that very small countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, which were parts of this country a few decades ago, are not afraid of breeding terrorists in those countries. It is well known that there are terrorists? training camps in Pakistan and many criminals involved in 1993 bomb blasts and the hijackers of the Indian Airlines plane in December 1999 have sought refuge in Pakistan. We did not take any drastic action against the countries involved in their acts against the interests of our country so far. The fact that only 10 terrorists, well trained and well equipped with arms and ammunition, held the Metro city Mumbai of 130 million people to ransom for 60 hours shows our weakness. It is cheating ourselves to call the terrorists cowards; in fact, we have proved ourselves cowards by not acting suitably against Pakistan, the enemy country. What will happen if Pakistan sneaks into our country 500 to 600 such terrorists simultaneously like the 10 above?
It is a welcome development that people are awakened now and have realised that the situation is extremely grave and that they cannot afford to be passive henceforth. They are very angry now, and rightly so.
However, it is necessary that the anger must be transformed into some effective and concrete action on the part of all of us. It will be futile to wave our swords angrily in air. We must clearly identify our enemy and must not be shy or afraid of naming it.
The enemy is Pakistan. The resignations of Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and the appointment of P. Chidambaram in his place should not suffice. Similarly replacing the Chief Minister and the deputy Chief Minister in Maharashtra should not be felt sufficient.
We must tighten the whole security system. We must provide all members of the security forces with good bullet proof jackets and more powerful weapons than those used by the enemy.
We must destroy the training camps for terrorists in Pakistan. We must treat Pakistan as our enemy until the 20 criminals involved in the Indian plane hijack and other crimes are returned to us.
The Samjhauta train and cross border bus service etcetera and other confidence building measures must stop.
Cricket matches with Pakistan must stop. The strong Pakistan lobby in India must be exposed and destroyed. Mohammad Afzal must be hung forthwith. POTA must be brought back. Investigation into all the previous bomb blast acts including the one in Ghatkopar bus, Gateway of India, Mumbai Central Station, Vile Parle, Mulund Railway Station, Karnavati Express on the Ahmedabad Railway platform etcetera must begin and be brought to their logical conclusion and the perpetrators of the crimes must be brought to book quickly. It is because we ignored the horrible consequences of those blasts and the sad fact that our governments and the judiciary failed completely to take stringent punitive action against the perpetrators of the crimes involved in those instances that the enemy dared attack us again. This time all of us must swear that we shall not leave any stone unturned until the concerned authorities take strong measures against Pakistan.
Simply displaying lighted candles and paying homage to the departed souls will be tantamount to only waiting for more incidents of similar havoc and loss of life in the future. We must note that further tolerance today will mean that we or our relatives will be victims of similar acts of terrorists tomorrow.
That our Central government had no will to take effective action against terrorism is clear from the fact that it continued to have peace talks with Pakistan despite the latter'scontinuing with training camps for terrorists in its territory and supplying them with RDX, weapons and funds. Now we must not allow our leaders to move with black cat commandos while the people are left at the mercy of terrorists wielding AK-47, grenades and RDX.
We must now insist on declaring Pakistan as a terrorist country and persuade the world to do so. We must emulate Israel and remove our image in the world that we are a timid and soft state.
We must not tolerate when some communal leaders oppose combing operations on the basis of religion, since it is accepted now that no religion prescribes terrorism. The police must be given free hand to investigate the perpetrators of the heinous acts of violence. Many times it is found out that without local support it is not possible to carry out the bomb blasts so meticulously. We must realise now that it was our foolishness to give a red carpet welcome to Pakistan'sPresident, General Musharraf in the past despite the fact that terrorists attacking the Red Fort, the Parliament and Akshardham temple, Ayodhya, and Raghunath temple were found to hail from Pakistan.
Learning lessons from this sorry past, now, all Indian citizens in general, and Mumbaikars, in particular, must tell politicians that they do not require praise for keeping peace but action from politicians. Politicians want people to forget such incidents and engage themselves in their routine work, as it is convenient to the former. They do not wish people to think at length and get criticised.
(The writer can be contacted at 187/5235 Sanmati Society Pant Nagar,Ghatkopar Mumbai-400 075.)