“There is no God but only the Allah and Mohammed is the only prophet of God”, the hostages at a central Sydney café were made to carry and display the flags exhibiting the same line in Arabic. And, when the entire world was still in the shock, the news of 132 children among 148 dead in barbaric terrorist attack at an army school, in Peshawar, in Pakistan, on 16 December left the whole world in a grief, which cannot be expressed in words. Cruel terrorists brutally massacred 132 innocent school children.
As per the reports from BBC Urdu, a Taliban spokesman informed the channel that the army school was targeted to take revenge from the army for their military operations against Taliban in North Waziristan and the Khyber region. Few reports also suggest that this attack was a reaction against Malala Yousafzai getting the Nobel Prize for peace. As per the reports from Reuters, Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani said, “We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” and “We want them to feel the pain”.
On the horrific day, Taliban militants wearing suicide bomb vests entered the army school at Peshawar. Few students were writing their exams while others were playing or sitting in their classes. The terrorists set off a bomb to start of the attack. Children, who manged to escape, later reported authorities and media that he militants were shooting extensively and checking each and every classroom to ensure no one escapes. Only few children, who tried to run away and hide, survived. The children described the horror of seeing their friends falling and lying dead in pools of blood in school premises. General Asim Bajwa of Pakistan army officially informed reporters in Peshawar later on December 16 that 132 children and nine members of staff at the army school had been killed by the Talibani militants.
While the entire world has shown its solidarity against this brutal attack, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also had a word with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif to express his grief and sympathy with the shaken country. US President Barack Obama also said that the terrorists had once again shown their depravity while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed that it was certainly an act of horror and rank cowardice.
On the other hand, just before this massacre was reported, after hours of terror and panic created by a terrorist at the famous Lindt Chocolate Café, the Australian police ended their temporary fight against terrorism by ending the life of the coward terrorist (yes, all terrorists are nothing but a big time cowards, who know that their ambitions are unjust and illogical and hence try to create terror to mark their presence). Unfortunate though is the fact that two lives were lost during the entire mishap. However 15 lives have been saved, out of which two have been reported to be Indians.
The reports of terror attack at a famous Sydney Café left everybody shocked on December 15. The terrorist had two demands-to speak to the Australian Prime Minister at the earliest and an ISIS flag. The terrorist was identified as Haron Monis and was reported to have been associated with radical Sunni Muslim ideology. He has also been reported earlier to be involved in serious crimes and radicalism. He shifted to Australia from Iran where he was provided refuge. He was convicted guilty in 2013 for writing hate letters to the families and relatives of Australian service members calling them the Hitler's soldiers according to the reports from Australian media. Monis was sharing his demands with the authorities through the hostages. Some hostages also shared their pictures, messages and videos on few social networking sites reportedly. While few hostages found an escape and came out of the café, others were not that lucky. After spending an entire night, finally, the police raided the building and minutes later, announced that the situation is under control.
The entire attack reminded of 26/11 Mumbai attacks where a handful of well-trained terrorists took a major metropolis like Mumbai on their gunpoint and created a havoc, which was never ever imagined.
Although for now, the investigation is on to find the exact purpose and plan behind this attack, and it is believed that Monis was acting alone as per the additional US law enforcement and intelligence sources, but we cannot neglect a potential possibility of this attack being a group-planned activity. We also cannot ignore possible terror attacks post in future.
Today, even the most developed countries do not seem to be in a position of mitigating the risk of terror attacks despite using latest technologies and surveillance systems as the terrorists are using the most unconventional ways to create panic and cause destruction. Although terrorism is undoubtedly the most critical global problem, I believe it is rooted in the minds of few people and need to be addressed comprehensively at the personal, local, state, national and global level. An efficient network from local to global level across the counties seems to be an important need of the hour to face this serious challenge.
And last but not the least; coming to the introductory line of this article, I would like to express my viewpoint to the line. I too believe in god, Mr Terrorist, but my god does not restrict me to respect others’ religious values. My values teach me to respect other religions equally (sarvdharma samabhav) and I wonder what you would be left to do if this entire world including me agrees to your demands and convert my religion. Do you guarantee that then you will stop this bloody game and let all of us live peacefully? And yes, if you still agree, I disagree that you would even be thoughtful enough to promote peace, otherwise why you would have killed those innocent children in Peshawar, who were following the values of your religion so honestly? Irrespective of religion, regions, castes, languages and culture, let me tell you Mr Terrorist that we all will stand up together to face you, to fight you and win this battle.
Anshu Joshi (The writer is a Doctorate from JNU, New Delhi & a political analyst)