Terrorism: Good guys must get together

Being subject to terrorist attacks  appears to have become a routine. Loss of lives and the panic are sought to be washed off in inane rhetoric. Citizens look on as the government appears to be helpless. Reasons for the ineffectiveness of the government to prevent acts of terrorism reoccurring with frightening  rapidity and the apparent impunity with which the perpetrators operate, are they insurmountable?

If the police forces in the country are misused less by the politicians and bureaucrats they would have more time to do their job. Tracking criminals and terrorists.Protecting Citizens.

It is time politicians stopped using  these tragedies to demoralize the police and intelligence but got together to work out put in systems to face the real problems.

Look at USA. They learnt their lesson with one attack at home on 9/11. You have seen them react in no uncertain manner to plug loopholes, and go after the baddies. There has been no repeat of 9/11.

ED

Extract from the HT/TOI

This Is About Us

India is under attack, we must stick together

Even before the country recovered from the shock of being attacked in Bangalore on Friday last, the terror strikes in Ahmedabad followed a day after. The serial blasts in both cities over the weekend appear to have been well orchestrated, to claim innocent lives and unleash panic.

It is not everyday that a country faces such a situation, of several bombs going off across states within a span of hours, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. Now that we have been visited by such terror, the response must necessarily be one that is tempered with calm, despite the understandable disposition to outrage.

As we go to press, the casualties in Ahmedabad are reported to be 45 and dozens have been injured. But even before the body count is through, there have been attempts by some political parties to score petty points off each other.

Conjecture about whether much must be made about the fact that both Karnataka and Gujarat are ruled by the BJP, sadly, runs rife. To his credit, opposition leader L K Advani has brushed off such conspiracy theories. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was right when he said that those behind the attacks were enemies of humanity.

Appeals for calm across the political spectrum — starting with one from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — are welcome as there is no good in pointing fingers at a time when the country is under attack.

It is premature to place blame for the attacks on a particular group, indigenous or otherwise. It is also pointless to replay the refrain of the blame game between state and central intelligence agencies. Terror strike after terror strike, we are fed the same story about how each failed the other.

There is clearly a systemic fault in our intelligence and security administration that exposes the public to dangers that could perhaps be avoided. It is an issue that must no doubt be redressed speedily. But it must be acknowledged that securing a country as vast and densely populated as ours is no easy task. What these attacks — and the series of similar assaults before — establish is that India is being systematically targeted.

The pattern reveals that terrorists can and will strike not just at our metros but anywhere they think maximum damage — to life and economic activity — can be inflicted.

As we have argued in these columns before, boosting security, even if it means inconveniencing citizens to some measure, is an urgent need. Equally pressing is the need to bring the perpetrators of earlier terror strikes to book. Meanwhile, citizens must stay calm in response to such deliberately provocative attacks.

Otherwise, we would be playing into the hands of those who are avowed enemies of our way of life and our secular, democratic politics.

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MAIL TODAY COMMENT

We need a united national response

BY now the country’s response to terrorist strikes have become predictable: Congress governments offer compensation and urge people to remain calm, the BJP calls for draconian anti- terrorist legislation and the Left sees a conspiracy unfolding.

The police issue alerts and the intelligence agencies claim that they had issued warnings before the event. The bemused people of the country, and the unfortunate victims, take the inevitable tragedies that accompany such acts in their stride — their stoicism providing the solid wall that prevents the terrorists from achieving their aim of creating civil war and chaos.

The 17 blasts in Ahmedabad on Saturday that have so far taken 45 lives and those in Bangalore the day before that killed one person are part of a pattern that stretches back to the Varanasi and Delhi blasts of 2005 whose primary manifestation is that no one knows who the perpetrators are. Bangladesh- based Harkat- ul- jehad Islami has been the prime suspect.

But commonsense would suggest that the action of carrying out multiple blasts across our urban centres involves groups that have developed durable local roots. In other words, most of the problem and its solution lie within the country, rather than without.

While combating terrorism — arresting, trying and punishing the guilty is of immediate importance — we would be foolish to ignore the fact that those involved are using events like the Bombay riots of 1992- 93 and the Gujarat massacre of 2002 to justify their acts.

To undermine their case, the Indian polity must not only be just to the victims, but appear to be so. As of now, our record has been shoddy.

Most Mumbai rioters from the Hindu community got away scot- free, in contrast to the Muslim perpetrators of the 1993 blasts who have been punished. In Gujarat, most of those punished have been through trials that the Supreme Court moved out of the state as its administrative and judicial machinery has been compromised.

The country needs to come up with a single political response to terrorism, but that has been lacking because of the BJP and Sangh Parivar’s anti- Muslim politics. We also need a single administrative response through a centralised anti- terrorist force.

But this is stymied because states rightly worry that it will be used, as the CBI is, to settle political scores. Gross misuse has characterised the use of past anti- terrorist legislation.

In such circumstances, we really cannot offer any answers except to say that the country will collectively suffer the consequences of the present state of affairs.

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