Millennium Post

Not soft, we are dumb on terror

Terror strikes in India happen with such brutal regularity that we barely get time to recover from the aftermath – personal, social, political – of one by the time we are hit by another. Like the government, we, too, are mostly caught off-guard, dangling between a sense of perpetual anticipation and fear of such an attack and simply carrying on after projecting our general complacence towards terror. The twin blasts in Hyderabad on Thursday, therefore, appear both shocking and expected in hindsight, which is a tool we must exercise with disclaimers. People should not have died and hurt and this newspaper’s deepest condolences are with the families of the victims of this deplorable act. The bomb blasts are evidently in retaliation for the hanging of Afzal Guru. Innocent people have been targeted in the name of ‘getting even’, which is a shame. Although, no group has claimed credit for these twin bomb blasts, the imprint of the Indian Mujahideen is suspected. These blasts seem to have been meticulously planned, which shows that the terrorist cadres are not yet depleted, but are operational, waiting to strike at the weakest and most vulnerable. The bombs were left in a crowded market place under the very eye of the police and were not detected though the entire police force of the country has been on the alert as reprisals for the execution of Guru were expected. Ironically enough, even though Kashmir has been on the boil, no serious terrorist outrage has been committed there.
It is, therefore, a complete failure of intelligence gathering on the part of the government as it could not predict these bomb blasts in Hyderabad, even though this city has a history of bomb violence, which took place in 2007, when similar methods were used. This government has not been able to come to grips with the terrorist menace despite the instituting many probes and commissions. Each time there is a terrorist attack committees and investigations are set up whose reports gather dust. Each time the prime minister and the home minister condemn the attack and promise the people that no further attacks would take place, they continue unabated. It is of interest to note that the recent Hyderabad bomb blasts are the 11th in succession since the lethal attack on Mumbai on 26/11 in the the year 2008. At that time, the government had apologised to the people and had promised stringent measures to put an end to the terrorist menace. Even the Ram Pradhan Committee report has not yet been properly analysed in Parliament. The government had set up several police organisations after the Mumbai attack, but none of them seem to be working. As political parties use the plank of terrorism as a shuttlecock to score brownie points against each other, one needs to deliberate seriously on reviving debate on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NTPC), which, though proposed by P Chidambaram when he was the home minister, had been shot down by the states as they feared it would be used against them, instead of enabling intelligence sharing at a pan-India level. It is high time that the centre and state forget their differences and set aside petty political one-upmanship and unite to cement Indian defences.
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