How safe are our nuclear establishments? - B.Ramam ( source: Rediff )
Hotel Taj : icon of whose India ? - Gnani Sankaran ( source: http://openspace.org.in )
Isolate terror, do not secularise it! - S Gurumurthy (Source: Indian Express )
A clear and continuing lack of will - Arun Shourie ( Source: Indian Express )
How safe are our nuclear establishments? - B.Ramam
The war of civilisation between the Muslims and the infidels has begun in Indian territory.
2. So said the first statement issued in the name of the so-called Indian Mujahideen (IM) in November, 2007, after the three orchestrated explosions in three towns of Uttar Pradesh outside local courts.
3. We saw the latest round of this war in Mumbai on the night of November 26, 2008, as an unestimated number of terrorists----divided into small groups and wielding hand-held weapons and improvised explosive devices (IEDs)--- literally took control of Mumbai and targeted with frightening precision famous hotels preferred by the rich of the country and foreign tourists, railway stations, a hospital and many other places scattered across this business capital of India.
4. It is not just 9/11. It is not just Madrid, March, 2004. It is not just London, 2006.
5. It is --- I am using the present tense because the situation is still not under control at 5-30 AM despite the Army's assistance being sought--- an act of terrorism, the like of which the world has not seen before. Mind boggles as one tries to think and figure out how the terrorists could have planned and carried out terrorist strikes of such magnitude, territorial spread and ferocity without our intelligence and police having been able to get scent of it. Like what the Vietcong did during the Tet offensive.
6. The iceberg of jihadi terrorism to which I have been drawing attention since November, 2007, in article after article, in interview after interview, in discussion after discussion has struck not only Mumbai, but the Indian State.
7. The iceberg moved from UP to Jaipur. From Jaipur to Bangalore. From Bangalore to Ahmedabad and Surat. From there to Delhi. From Delhi to Assam. From Assam to Mumbai now-----despite the claims made by the Mumbai Police some weeks ago of having discovered and crushed a plot of the IM to carry out strikes in Mumbai.
8. The Government of Manmohan Singh reacted to the repeated warning signals of the moving iceberg since November 2007, in the same way as the Bush Administration reacted to reports about the plans of the Al Qaeda for an of aviation terrorism in the US; in the same way Megawati Sukarnoputri reacted to reports of the activities of the Jemmah Islamiyah; and in the same way Khalida Zia reacted to reports of the plans of the Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen .
9. Bovine. It just did no react. It was in a total denial mode. I wrote and said again and again ----hand over all the investigation about the IM to a central investigating agency for a co-ordinated investigation instead of their being investigated by the police in a piecemeal manner in different States ruled by different political parties. No reaction.
10. From a localised threat, jihadi terrorism has become a pan-Indian threat with a pan-Islamic ideology. Deal with it with a pan-Indian strategy, I said. No reaction.
11. The terrorists arrested some weeks ago in Mumbai, three of whom were IT experts well-placed in trans-national companies, pose a new dimension of the threat. Seek the help of the US, I said. No reaction.
12. I drew attention to an article of Hamid Mir, a journalist of Pakistan, which spoke of Indian Muslims going to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against the US and which also said that India is one of the routes being used by foreign jihadis going to Afghanistan. No reaction just as Rajiv Gandhi did not react to repeated wake-up calls from the then Afghan President Najibullah that Muslims from Kashmir were being trained by the Afghan Mujahideen.
13. In October, when I had come to Delhi for a seminar two diplomats from the EU countries sought an appointment with me for a discussion on the IM. They expressed their surprise and concern over the fact that the Indian intelligence and police seemed to know so little about the IM despite their having arrested many perpetrators of the previous blasts and interrogated them.
14. Is the IM the name of an organisation or of a movement? Is it one or many organisations in different States acting, like the International Islamic Front (IIF) of Osama bin Laden, as a united front-----autonomously where they can and unitedly where they should? Who constitute its command and control? Where are they? In India or outside? Nobody knows for certain.
15. I could not sleep the whole of last night. One question, which kept bothering me again and again was: how safe are our nuclear establishments and material?
16. Till now, we were greeting with glee Pakistan's incompetence in dealing with terrorism. We can no longer do so. We have become as clueless as Pakistan.
17. I wanted to write much more, but my mind doesn't work. As I watch on the TV what is happening in Mumbai, I shiver and sweat at the thought of what is waiting to happen tomorrow and where.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hotel Taj : icon of whose India ?
Gnani Sankaran- Tamil writer, Chennai
Watching at least four English news channels surfing from one another
during the last 60 hours of terror strike made me feel a terror of
another kind. The terror of assaulting one's mind and sensitivity with
cameras, sound bites and non-stop blabbers. All these channels have
been trying to manufacture my consent for a big lie called - Hotel Taj
the icon of India.
Whose India, Whose Icon ?
It is a matter of great shame that these channels simply did not
bother about the other icon that faced the first attack from
terrorists - the Chatrapathi Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station.
CST is the true icon of Mumbai. It is through this railway station
hundreds of Indians from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal
and Tamilnadu have poured into Mumbai over the years, transforming
themselves into Mumbaikars and built the Mumbai of today along with
the Marathis and Kolis
But the channels would not recognise this. Nor would they recognise
the thirty odd dead bodies strewn all over the platform of CST. No
Barkha dutt went there to tell us who they were. But she was at Taj to
show us the damaged furniture and reception lobby braving the guards.
And the TV cameras did not go to the government run JJ hospital to
find out who those 26 unidentified bodies were. Instead they were
again invading the battered Taj to try in vain for a scoop shot of the
dead bodies of the page 3 celebrities.
In all probability, the unidentified bodies could be those of workers
from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh migrating to Mumbai, arriving by train at
CST without cell phones and pan cards to identify them. Even after 60
hours after the CST massacre, no channel has bothered to cover in
detail what transpired there.
The channels conveniently failed to acknowledge that the Aam Aadmis of
India surviving in Mumbai were not affected by Taj, Oberoi and Trident
closing down for a couple of weeks or months. What mattered to them
was the stoppage of BEST buses and suburban trains even for one hour.
But the channels were not covering that aspect of the terror attack.
Such information at best merited a scroll line, while the cameras have
to be dedicated for real time thriller unfolding at Taj or Nariman
The so called justification for the hype the channels built around
heritage site Taj falling down (CST is also a heritage site), is that
Hotel Taj is where the rich and the powerful of India and the globe
congregate. It is a symbol or icon of power of money and politics, not
India. It is the icon of the financiers and swindlers of India. The
Mumbai and India were built by the Aam Aadmis who passed through CST
and Taj was the oasis of peace and privacy for those who wielded power
over these mass of labouring classes. Leopold club and Taj were the
haunts of rich spoilt kids who would drive their vehicles over
sleeping Aam Aadmis on the pavement, the Mafiosi of Mumbai forever
financing the glitterati of Bollywood (and also the terrorists) ,
Political brokers and industrialists.
It is precisely because Taj is the icon of power and not people, that
the terrorists chose to strike.
The terrorists have understood after several efforts that the Aam
Aadmi will never break down even if you bomb her markets and trains.
He/she was resilient because that is the only way he/she can even
Resilience was another word that annoyed the pundits of news channels
and their patrons this time. What resilience, enough is enough, said
Pranoy Roy's channel on the left side of the channel spectrum. Same
sentiments were echoed by Arnab Goswami representing the right wing of
the broadcast media whose time is now. Can Rajdeep be far behind in
this game of one upmanship over TRPs ? They all attacked resilience
this time. They wanted firm action from the government in tackling
The same channels celebrated resilience when bombs went off in trains
and markets killing and maiming the Aam Aadmis. The resilience of the
ordinary worker suited the rich business class of Mumbai since work or
manufacture or film shooting did not stop. When it came to them, the
rich shamelessly exhibited their lack of nerves and refused to be
resilient themselves. They cry for government intervention now to
protect their private spas and swimming pools and bars and
restaurants, similar to the way in which Citibank, General Motors and
the ilk cry for government money when their coffers are emptied by
their own ideologies.
The terrorists have learnt that the ordinary Indian is unperturbed by
terror. For one whose daily existence itself is a terror of government
sponsored inflation and market sponsored exclusion, pain is something
he has learnt to live with. The rich of Mumbai and India Inc are
facing the pain for the first time and learning about it just as the
middle classes of India learnt about violation of human rights only
during emergency, a cool 28 years after independence.
And human rights were another favourite issue for the channels to whip
at times of terrorism.
Arnab Goswami in an animated voice wondered where were those
champions of human rights now, not to be seen applauding the brave and
selfless police officers who gave up their life in fighting terorism.
Well, the counter question would be where were you when such officers
were violating the human rights of Aam Aadmis. Has there ever been any
24 hour non stop coverage of violence against dalits and adivasis of
This definitely was not the time to manufacture consent for the extra
legal and third degree methods of interrogation of police and army but
Arnabs don't miss a single opportunity to serve their class masters,
this time the jingoistic patriotism came in handy to whitewash the
entire uniformed services.
The sacrifice of the commandos or the police officers who went down
dying at the hands of ruthless terrorists is no doubt heart rending
but in vain in a situation which needed not just bran but also brain.
Israel has a point when it says the operations were misplanned
resulting in the death of its nationals here.
Khakares and Salaskars would not be dead if they did not commit the
mistake of traveling by the same vehicle. It is a basic lesson in
management that the top brass should never t ravel together in crisis.
The terrorists, if only they had watched the channels, would have
laughed their hearts out when the Chief of the Marine commandos, an
elite force, masking his face so unprofessionally in a see-through
cloth, told the media that the commandos had no idea about the
structure of the Hotel Taj which they were trying to liberate. But the
terrorists knew the place thoroughly, he acknowledged.
Is it so difficult to obtain a ground plan of Hotel Taj and discuss
operation strategy thoroughly for at least one hour before entering?
This is something even an event manager would first ask for, if he had
to fix 25 audio systems and 50 CCtvs for a cultural event in a hotel.
Would not Ratan Tata have provided a plan of his ancestral hotel to
the commandos within one hour considering the mighty apparatus at his
and government's disposal? Are satelite pictures only available for
terrorists and not the government agencies ? In an operation known to
consume time, one more hour for preparation would have only improved
the efficiency of execution.
Sacrifices become doubly tragic in unprofessional circumstances. But
the Aam Aadmis always believe that terror-shooters do better planning
than terrorists. And the gullible media in a jingoistic mood would not
raise any question about any of these issues.
They after all have their favourite whipping boy - the politician the
eternal entertainer for the non-voting rich classes of India.
Arnabs and Rajdeeps would wax eloquent on Nanmohan Singh and Advani
visiting Mumbai separately and not together showing solidarity even at
this hour of national crisis. What a farce? Why can't these channels
pool together all their camera crew and reporters at this time of
national calamity and share the sound and visual bites which could
mean a wider and deeper coverage of events with such a huge human
resource to command? Why should Arnab and Rajdeep and Barkha keep
harping every five minutes that this piece of information was
exclusive to their channel, at the time of such a national crisis? Is
this the time to promote the channel? If that is valid, the politician
promoting his own political constituency is equally valid. And the
duty of the politican is to do politics, his politics. It is for the
people to evaluate that politics.
And terrorism is not above politics. It is politics by other means.
To come to grips with it and to eventually eliminate it, the practice
of politics by proper means needs constant fine tuning and
improvement. Decrying all politics and politicians, only helps
terrorists and dictators who are the two sides of the same coin. And
the rich and powerful always prefer terrorists and dictators to do
Those caught in this crossfire are always the Aam Aadmis whose deaths
are not even mourned - the taxi driver who lost the entire family at
CST firing, the numerous waiters and stewards who lost their lives
working in Taj for a monthly salary that would be one time bill for
Postscript: In a fit of anger and depression, I sent a message to all
the channels, 30 hours through the coverage. After all they have been
constantly asking the viewers to message them for anything and
everything. My message read: I send this with lots of pain. All
channels, including yours, must apologise for not covering the victims
of CST massacre, the real mumbaikars and aam aadmis of India. Your
obsession with five star elite is disgusting. Learn from the print
media please. No channel bothered. Only srinivasan Jain replied: you
are right. We are trying to redress balance today. Well, nothing
happened till the time of writing this 66 hours after the terror
Postscript 2: the only relief in the three day coverage was all the anchors and reporters did NOT say Islamic or muslim terrorists anymore though they knew that the terrorists were muslims sent from Pakistan. Must be thanks to Malegaon.
Isolate terror, do not secularise it! - S Gurumurthy
“The mounting evidence” says The New York Times (28/11) quoting American intelligence and official, “indicate that Pakistani militant group based in Kashmir, most likely Lashkar-e-Toiba, or possibly another terror group in Kashmir, Jaish-e-Mohammed, was responsible for the dastardly attack” on Mumbai on November 26. ‘The Mumbai terror has been planned for the last six months’ and ‘the terrorists came from Karachi; they landed on the Indian coast through boats; they were trained by Pakistan Navy for 12 to 18 months; Dawood Ibrahim’s local infrastructure had provided the logistics for the attack; the terror bears the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI) stamp’, say the media reports citing Indian intelligence and Mumbai police. All this point to the Jihadi character of the terror. The Jewish religious head in Mumbai and the white foreigners staying in hotels as special targets of the terrorists who allowed Turkish Muslim inmates of Taj Hotel to escape because they were Muslims reinforced the view that the terrorists were part of the global Islamist terror network against non-Muslims (Kafirs).
Yet the Home Minister first and the Prime Minister later made statements on November 27, warning that the terrorists would pay for their crime, but, did not utter a word about who were the terrorists, and where they came from.
Then entered the Minister of State for Home Affairs Sri Prakash Jaiswal. He provided the comedy in an otherwise grim tragedy that Mumbai was experiencing for nearly 48 hours. He told the media on November 28, ‘terror could be a conspiracy hatched by right-wing Hindu parties’. Hindu parties — read the BJP? Yes. So Pakistan, or Lashkar-e- Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed or other Jihadi outfits are not the prime suspects! Following this line the Chinese People’s Daily suspected Hindu terrorists as the culprits! But most secular media in India fortunately dismissed the junior minister’s statement as just a juvenile prank. As his state minister was striving to make those who cry laugh, the Prime Minister stepped in to supplement his junior minister’s efforts to humour the nation. On that very day, he invited the chief of the ISI — the main suspect in the terror on Mumbai — to come to Delhi.
Why? To share info on the Mumbai terror with the main conspirator! Is it that the PM too was cracking a joke like his junior minister by inviting the ISI chief ? The ISI continues to be, as it always was since 1959 when it was born, hostile to India. On August 1, 2008, The New York Times reported, citing US officials, “American intelligence agencies have concluded” that Pakistan’s ISI had “helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul” that left 58 dead and 141 wounded. As his junior minister spoke of Hindu terrorists as suspects, the Prime Minister invited the ISI chief, a well known jihadi who was involved in the jihad in the July Kabul attack to assist in investigating the Mumbai terror. That is, the Prime Minister was asking the main conspirator, ISI, to catch the other perpetrators – namely, the Jihadis whom it had trained to attack India! Normally such an act would be a subject of a cartoon.
Read together what Jaiswal said in Mumbai — namely, the terrorists were from Hindu political parties — on November 29 — and what Dr Singh did in Delhi on the same date – namely, invite the ISI chief to probe the Mumbai terror.
Did the Prime Minister take his minister of state for home so seriously that he wanted the Hindu angle to the Mumbai terror — some Advani or Modi involvement — to be jointly investigated by the IB in India and the ISI in Pakistan? Or did he expect the ISI to confess to its involvement? Or did he think that the ISI has suddenly shed its enmity and turned its admirer under its secular leaders Sonia Gandhi, a Christian, and himself, a Sikh? But fortunately for India, the Pakistan government refused to send the ISI chief to India. The world would have laughed at India if the ISI chief had come to India and declared to the media that the ISI would ‘co-operate’ with the IB to catch the culprits! What has done India into this mess? It is the Indian polity’s inability to say plainly that Islamic terror is a global phenomenon, and it is extending itself into India through global Islamic network.
Result, instead of isolating the terror, the national political discourse began secularising it. The seculars saw normal anti-terror laws as anti- Muslim laws by showing the number of detainees under the law which contained more Muslims. They refused to acknowledge that global Islamic jihad appeals only to Muslims and not to other communities. How then to maintain arithmetical parity between communities in the arrests under the anti-terror law? Once it is conceded that a terrorist has no religion, the person detained for acts of terror also has no religion.
How then could detainees under POTA be seen as Muslims and others? More, this secular formulation has facilitated the free entry of global jihad.
More, the national discourse, instead of protecting the local Muslims from global jihad, has not only exposed them to it, but also encouraged the process by integrating anti-terror laws within secular vs communal discourse. In the discourse anyone opposing strong antiterror laws became instantly secular, and any one supporting it instantly communal. Consequently, terror became secular, and anti-terror laws became un-secular. Thanks to this debasing secular debate, the UPA repealed the POTA as its first job. The result is for all to see. In the last four years and more, the terror attacks have accounted for more than 4,000 lives and in the last one year our terror toll had been more than that of — believe it — Iraq.
The next perversion followed the first.
The secular discourse instead of isolating the jihadi outfits like the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) worked to make the unwary local Muslims identify with, own such outfits.
Take the example of the ban on SIMI. The BJP-led NDA had banned it in 2001 and the Congress had opposed it, saying that the ban had targeted the Muslims. This secular perverted discourse made the unwary Muslims own the SIMI about which most of them perhaps knew nothing except that the ‘anti-Muslim’ BJP had banned it and the secular parties — read pro-Muslim parties — had opposed it! The UPA first lifted the ban, but reimposed it but not before allowing the SIMI to grow into an Indian LeT. Why not ban the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, asked the Congress and the seculars, when SIMI was banned. But little did they realise that VHP can and should be banned if it indulged in terror, but not to justify the ban on SIMI. See what this secular perversion translates into. One, the state cannot act against the SIMI unless they find some Hindu outfit to act against.
Two, the state cannot detain or act against a terrorist unless it can find terrorists from all communities. QED: terror stands secularised, not isolated in secular discourse! How will India fight terror with this cerebral paralysis
A clear and continuing lack of will - Arun Shourie
The terrorist outrage in Mumbai draws attention to serious shortcomings in security, but the irony is that these weaknesses were well known to the authorities who had warned of the problems many times and in various forums. You can’t have a first-rate commando force and a third rate magistracy. You can’t have defence and intelligence personnel who will nab terrorists and courts that will let them off, or, better still, enable them to live off the treasury as state guests for years. And that excellence must reach down
Our coastal areas are coming under increased threat from terrorist groups, which have decided to use the sea route to infiltrate into India. They also plan to induct arms and ammunition through the sea routes” that is Shivraj Patil addressing the DirectorsGeneral and Inspectors-General of Police in November 2006. “We understand they (the terrorists) have been collecting information regarding location of various refineries on or near the Indian coastline… Some Lashkare-Taiba (LeT) operatives are also being trained specifically for sabotage of oil installations. There are plans to occupy some uninhabited islands off the country’s coastline to use them as bases for launching operations on the Indian coast…” That was the ever-alert home minister in November 2006. Defence minister A K Antony has been no less alert. On March 8, 2007, he was asked in the Lok Sabha, “Whether the intelligence agencies have warned about the possibility of terrorists trying to infiltrate through the sea route or trying to target our offshore installations?” He answered, “Yes, Sir. There are reports about terrorists of various tanzeems being imparted training and likelihood of their infiltration through sea routes…” He was asked, “Whether maritime terrorism, gun-running, drug-trafficking and piracy are major threats that India is facing from the sea borders of the country?” His answer? “Yes, Sir.” On May 9, 2007, the home minister was asked in the Rajya Sabha, “Whether it is a fact that there are strong apprehensions of terrorist threats to the country through the sea route?” “As per available reports,” he answered, “Pak based terrorist groups, particularly LeT, have been exploring possibilities of induction of manpower and terrorist hardware through the sea route…” On December 8, 2007, the National Security Adviser, M K Narayanan, was educating the world at the 4th Regional Security Summit organised by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Manama Dialogue.
“According to our intelligence reports,” he confided to the assembled Sheikhs and experts, “there are now certain new schools that are now being established on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which now specialise in the training of an international brigade of terrorists to fight in many climes. According to our information, recruits from 14 to 15 countries have been identified as amongst the trainees there… Training has become extremely rigorous it is almost frightening in nature… Studies are being carried out about important targets, with regard to vulnerability, accessibility, poor security, absence of proper counter-terrorism measures, etc. The sea route, in particular, is becoming the chosen route for carrying out many attacks, even on land. References to this are to be found replete in current terrorist literature.
“Given India’s experience in dealing with terrorism,” he added, “I would like to therefore sound a note of warning, that there is no scope for complacency…” On March 11, 2008, A K Antony addressed the “International Maritime Search and Rescue Conference,” in Delhi. He warned the delegates of “dangers of terror attacks from the sea in the region”. In the course of his address, Antony admitted that the Coast Guard faces a shortage of manpower as well as hardware.
But “necessary steps are being taken to strengthen the search and rescue infrastructure of the Indian Coast Guard…” On November 13, 2008, just a fort On November 13, 2008, just a fortnight before the assaults at Mumbai, Manmohan Singh warned the BIMSTEC summit, “Terrorism and threats from the sea continue to challenge the authority of the State…” Danger of infiltration By now it was time for Shivraj Patil to address yet another meeting of the DGs and IGs of Police. Thus, on November 22, 2008, that is literally on the eve of the attacks in Mumbai, he told the police chiefs, “To control terrorism in the hinterland, we have to see that infiltration of terrorists from other countries does not take place through the sea routes and through the borders between India and friendly countries. The coastlines also have to be guarded through Navy, Coast Guard and coastal police.
“The states’ Special Branches and the CID should identify the persons forming part of the sleeper cells and lodging in cities and towns and studying in educational institutions and working in industries and professions…” Four days later, the terrorists, using the exact same sea route, do the exact same thing that these worthies have been warning others about. Are they consultants to government or ones running the government? Is their job to issue warnings to others or to see that the warnings are acted upon?
Warning given, the job is done But that is the fate of warnings in this system. After all, that very sea route was used to smuggle explosives for the blasts across Bombay in 1993. Were those blasts not warning enough?
Seven years later in 2000 the warning and lesson were made explicit yet again. Four Task Forces were set up in the wake of the Kargil War. The one on border management warned, “The long coastline with its inadequate policing makes it easy to land arms and explosives at isolated spots on the coast.” It recalled that this is exactly how explosives were smuggled into Maharashtra in 1993.
“The situation, if anything, has worsened over the years with the activities of the ISI becoming more widespread along the coast particularly by extension into the coast of Kerala… Such coastal areas must be particularly kept under surveillance.” There is space here to cite just one example. The Task Force pointed out that the ISI had started using the Lakshadweep archipelago as a major staging point for smuggling arms and per sonnel into India. The agency used smugglers and their networks like Dawood Ibrahim and his tentacles and their routes for doing so. These dons and their networks were given shelter and support in return for helping the agency with its operations against India.
Now, Lakshadweep has 36 islands. Ten of these are inhabited. Talking of one of these islands Suheli the Task Force pointed out that, sea vessels of smugglers apart, “There have been instances of twin rotor helicopters (of the kind used by militaries) landing at Suheli Island and spotting of unidentified helicopters flying in the waters around the islands…” And what were we doing? “Intelligence gathering in the islands,” the Task Force recorded, “is carried out by one Inspector, one Sub-Inspector, one Head Constable and three Constables working in the Special Branch at Kavaratti” just one of the 36 islands. “Intelligence gathering in all other islands is carried out by one Head Constable/Constable who reports to the OIC (the Officer in Charge) of the police station who in turn passes it on to the Inspector (Special Branch) at Kavaratti.” Please read that again: 36 islands; one Inspector, one Sub Inspector, one Head Constable and three Constables on the main island; and one Head Constable/Constable for all the remaining 35 islands… Drifting with the tide What has happened since, what is the position today, I ask the person who has held the highest posts in intelligence. Exactly what it was then, he says, with one difference. With the up gradation of all posts, the Inspector (Special Branch) at Kavaratti is now designated not as Officer in Charge, but as Joint Assistant Director or Deputy Central Intelligence Officer depending on his cadre… As for the other recommendations patrolling, setting up sensors, and a host of others things are as they were.
And we are surprised! I can multiply such examples by the score at no notice at all. Recalling just one thing will be sufficient.
When, during a debate on national security in the Rajya Sabha, I began citing such passages from the report of this Task Force, shouts went up from the Congress, “But this is a secret report… How has he got it?... How is he citing it?...” Shivraj Patil remained his composed self, eventually chiding me with the sagacity which even terrorists have by now come to associate with him.
Things to do First, act on recommendations that are made by committees you set up.
Second, that will not happen unless we send a better type into legislatures and, thence, to governments. When we select leaders who treat the police as their private army; when we select leaders for whom investigating agencies are instruments to fix rivals or let off allies, don’t expect the police and agencies to suddenly turn around and forestall terrorists.
Third, remember that little can be achieved unless every aspect of governance is brought up to par. You can’t have a first-rate commando force and a third rate magistracy . You can’t have defence and intelligence personnel who will nab terrorists and courts that will let them off, or, better still, enable them to live off the treasury as state guests for years. And that excellence must reach down to that “Head Constable/Constable” level. When K P S Gill reconquered Punjab for the country, he did so by strengthening and invigorating the local thana.
Fourth, that the State of India is weak and has been weakened and is being weakened by the day is only one part of the explanation. A weakened and confused society explains as much and the responsibility lies as much with those who have dissipated national resolve, who have made nationalism a dirty word. That set includes the media as much as politicians. Sixty-seventy thousand killed by terrorism and we are still debating whether we should have a federal investigating agency. Sixty-seventy thousand killed by terrorists and we are still debating whether we should have a special law to bring them to book.
Of course, we must have the agency . Of course, we must have the sternest law in the world. But having the law is not enough. We must enforce it. One side of the picture is that, to pander to its vote bank among Muslims, the government has been withholding sanction to the law passed by the Gujarat Assembly even though that law is the exact replica of the law that its own party’s government has passed in adjacent Maharashtra.
The other side is that, as the Maharashtra government does not use the law it has, those who will give shelter and support to terrorists give them with abandon you just have to think of the quantum of weapons that the terrorists brought in; the detailed local knowledge they had of the spot at which to land their boats, of the location of the building in which Jews and Israelis were staying, of the insides of the hotels, to see that they could not have executed their plans without the most extensive local help, help given over months.
And enforcing the law means carrying out sentences that the law provides. The Parliament of India is attacked, guards are killed; one of the killers is tried and convicted, the sentence is confirmed by the Supreme Court, and, eight years after the assault, his “papers are still being processed,” indeed there are signature campaigns against executing the sentence. Given these circumstances, the best thing for a terrorist would be to succeed in his mission, and then get caught. He will get the best lawyers to defend him. He will get judges who are ever so solicitous about his rights, ever so finicky about procedures. And, of course, he will get activists to shoot off press statements on his behalf. Lawyers better, judges more solicitous, activists more articulate and better networked than any in his own country .
But for any of this to happen, the society has to be clear in its mind. This is, it has for 20 years been, war. It can be won only by overwhelming the adversary – not by running after the terrorist, as K P S Gill says, but by outrunning him, indeed by over-running him. Not an eye for an eye. For an eye, both eyes. Not a tooth for a tooth. For a tooth, the whole jaw. Human rights? Yes, we will respect the human rights of the terrorists and their sponsors and their local supporters to the extent that they respect the human rights of our people. Time to wake up Finally, have a clear realisation of the condition of the society and State of Pakistan. Unless you come across evidence that the nature of the State and society of Pakistan has changed, it is idiotic to put faith in the profession of this ruler or that. Remember Musharraf ’s “Main naya dil leyke aayaa hun”? Taliban and Al Qaeda are not the cause of the state of Pakistan. They are the result of the Talibanisation of Pakistani society and state.
Where do you think, and by whom do you think are the teachers instructed to ensure that students from Class 1 onwards “recognise the importance of jihad”; to ensure that they “must be aware of the blessings of jihad”; to ensure that they “create yearning for jihad in his heart”; to ensure that they develop “love and aspiration for jihad, tabligh, shahadat, sacrifice, ghazi, shaheed”? Where do you think, and by whom are teachers instructed to ensure that students from kindergarten onwards learn to “make speeches on jihad and shahadat”, and are “judged on their spirit while making speeches on jihad”?
Do you think these are instructions issued by the Islamic fundamentalists to maulvis in madrasas? They are instructions given by the government of Pakistan through official circulars to principals and teachers in government schools of Pakistan.
You didn’t know that? Exactly . That is a large part of the problem. You will find reams of these and other facts in the 2002 report edited by Pakistani academics, A H Nayyar and Ahmed Salim, and published by the Sustainable Development Institute, Islamabad, The Subtle Subversion: The state of curricula and textbooks in Pakistan, Urdu, English, Social Studies and Civics.
Get on to the Internet, download and read the report from www.sdpi.org. Here is a part of the problem that you can solve by yourself.
As for the rest of the problem, I suppose we must continue to rely on Shivraj Patil. And on him who is to the government what Shivraj Patil is to the home ministry, that is, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
பன்ச் வெச்சா இட்லி தாண்டா
Rated PG - for Pseudo-DK, DMK, Liberals, Marxists....
Monday, December 01, 2008
How safe are our nuclear establishments? - B.Ramam ( source: Rediff )