TIGHTLY knit, action packed and lucid, the book tackles the issue of Islamic terrorism and terror groups operating from Pakistan, with tentacles spread all over India. There are also references of the hand-in-glove role of the ISI with these jehadis. But, comments the author, “Don’t these Pakis realize how badly all this shit is going to boomerang on them?”
On the other hand is the Indian army, and more specifically Force 22, which has been created to tackle these groups. However, in all this operation, the officers are conscious that “historically the Indian Muslim is secular and by now totally sick of the way (his) religion has been maligned by these jehadis.” Its tough handling the jehadis and anticipating their moves. It means having your intelligence agencies super active, and having efficient and highly committed officers who will infiltrate into the jehadi camps and supply prior information and even diffuse situations quickly. Violence cannot be tackled by counter-violence. And, through all this, the army has to be conscious of the blowback, the retaliatory step of the terrorists. When you infiltrate into their camp, you don’t know what price you might have to pay … it could mean losing your own officer. “ You can never tell which way things will blow … or who they’ll blow away.”
Woven into all this is a love story, a love story of Iqbal and Tanaaz. Iqbal is a reformed terrorist and understands how their mind works. He has to undergo tough and back-breaking training if he has to infiltrate into a terrorist camp. Tanaaz has worked with RAW and has a fair understanding of terror operations. Marriage happens but doesn’t dilute their commitment to rooting out terrorism. Iqbal has to get into their group and face whatever comes.
Terrorists are equally committed to jehad. Defending their mission, they say, “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, not hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and his Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth (even if they are) of the people of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” And, “every time one of our fighters falls in battle, there will be charges of discrimination and persecution,” is the strategy. They strike at will, and rejoice at mayhem. About killing, they say, “You’ll get used to it soon. By the third or fourth time, you’ll actually start enjoying it.” And, traitors will be done to horrible death, immediately. There is no place for the squimish-hearted, too.
The mention of real incidents of violence and bomb blast sites like Jaipur, and Sarojini Nagar Market in New Delhi, lends authenticity. So do names of places of hide-outs like Okhla, and Mohammadpur.
The author’s experience in the army and knowledge of army operations, can clearly be seen in the details about various devices used in countering terrorism.
(HarperCollins Publishers India, A-53, Sector 57, Noida-201301)