Monday, October 30, 2006

Terrorism - Seeking New Grounds and Vital Targets

Summary: The Karnataka police arrested last week two dreaded terrorists of Pakistani origin. Investigations revealed that they had planned to attack vital targets in Bangalore and Mysore. In this backdrop, it is high time, India relooks and retracts from the recently announced joint anti-terror mechanism agreement with Pakistan.

In an incident that should send wake up calls to the political, intelligence and security establishments of the country, two hard core terrorists were arrested by the Karnataka police in the world famous tourist city of Mysore, on 26th October, Thursday night following a shoot out. In a swift action, the two terrorists were arrested by the night patrol police, when they were being interrogated for their suspicious movements riding in a motorbike. In the fire exchange that ensued, the police were successful in nabbing them and have recovered huge cache of two AK-47 rifles, arms, weapons and other materials which can provide crucial intelligence inputs to crack the terror game plans and sleeper terror modules.

The terrorists movements were being closely monitored following intelligence reports that many sleeper modules of terror groups were planning for major strikes at Bangalore and other vital installations in the country, under instructions from their masters across the border. The states DIG of police Mr. B.S. Siyal has said these terrorists, both Pakistani nationals, entered India illegally through the Nepal border and belong to the banned terrorist outfit “Al-Badr”. The terrorists were in possession of photographs of the Vidhanasoudha – the legislative house of Karnataka and may have planned to attack other vital IT, BT installations spread across Bangalore. With these arrests, Mr. Siyal said, a possible major terror attack on Bangalore has been averted and further investigations are being carried out to unearth sleeper modules which may be actively pursuing ghastly terror strike plans across Bangalore and the links of these terrorists to other groups & modules in the rest of the country. Further, the Kerala police are investigating the links of one of the arrested to his ancestral family in Kozikode and several people were being interrogated in connection with their possible tacit support to the arrested terrorists.

The arrests must come as no surprise to the citizens of this country. The rogue terror elements, so tactfully and actively supported by Pakistan and its intelligence agency ISI, have infiltrated every significant arms of our democratic establishment including the army and intelligence agencies. The political establishment of this country, blind as it is to narrow political interests and wooing of minorities remains apathetic to the grave threat and oblivion to the greater security concerns interests of its citizens.

These arrests again provide clinching evidence to the fears that have been constantly expressed by security and intelligence experts that terror groups are spreading their tentacles across the expanse of the country and possess strengths and capabilities to strike at their will and cause mayhem. None less than our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressed the same views soon after Mumbai blasts and often has repeatedly stressed that terrorism sponsored by elements across the border and with cow towing of Pakistan’s government, pose the real grave danger to the country’s security.

Bangalore has been at the centre of global focus consequent to its emergence as a technological and knowledge hub. The sheer magnitude of intellectual prowess that Bangalore possesses and its explosion as a global IT, BT, Manufacturing and BPO centre has made the world watch stupefied and take notice of its phenomenal rise. Naturally, this city that has taken giant strides and remains synonymous with India’s economic rise, couldn’t have escaped the radar of the prying eyes of terror groups. Last year during December, the terrorist attack on Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore claimed several innocent lives, including the country’s leading researcher and former Professor of IIT Delhi, Prof. Puri.

The joint anti-terror mechanism agreement between India and Pakistan, which was announced by the Prime Minister Singh with much fan fare at the recent NAM summit held in Cuba, now stands a loser even before the most optimistic in our country could have hoped for some positive results. In the first place, the very nature of the joint anti-terror mechanism surmounted to a radical shift from our Ideology on terrorism and its links to Pakistan. For decades, our foreign policy was centered on the stand that it was the Pakistan government’s insidious backing and support provided to terrorists that have resulted in terror strikes across Indian killing thousands of innocents. In one single sweep of policy change, through the anti-terror agreement, India unfortunately conceded much diplomatic ground and to its own peril, admitted rather unintelligently that it was not Pakistan government that was sponsoring the terror strikes in India and elsewhere, but certain militant and wayward groups operating from its soil. Further, the conflicting statements that are being uttered by the National Security Advisor and the officials of Ministry of External Affairs over the joint anti-terror agreement points only to the confusion that prevails over this strategic hara-kiri and acknowledges rather unmindfully how unprepared and unrealistic it remains in dealing with Pakistan sponsored terrorism.

Though the Prime Minister, the Congress and the National Security Advisor backed the agreement saying it would serve as a stringent test against Pakistan’s claims of it being non supporter of terror strikes against India, it was a foregone conclusion that such an agreement would never stand the test and will remain a decorative document serving no purpose. The mandarins in the UPA government, through the anti-terror agreement might have hoped to garner favorable political sentiments of sections of Indian society, but giving credence to their lopsided views on terrorism, the agreement has remained another much hyped shot that has backfired against India. The entire agreement and the consequent media utterances by the UPA Government on the issue have only strengthened the view that India seems to be afflicted with the Stockholm syndrome and may never be able to defy deftly and conquer strongly the threat of terrorism.

Perhaps as rejoinder and reminder to the invisible enemy that the country has to battle, on the same day of terrorists arrests in Mysore, an email said to have originated in Kerala reached the PMO and threatened to kill the Prime Minister during his scheduled visit to the state. Incidentally, the email had references to Afzal Guru who has been convicted in the December 2002 Indian Parliament attack case and sentenced to death penalty by the Delhi High court. The court’s death sentence on him has sparked off intense debates and country waits with a baited breath the response to his mercy petition pending before the President Dr. Abdul Kalam.

What was rather most unfortunate to witness following the arrests, were the reports in the local media that the entire episode of arrests in Mysore was choreographed and dictated by the ruling JD(S) Chief Minister of Karnataka Mr. H.D. Kumara Swamy. It was opined that the arrests were made to distract the public attention following an unsavory incident of late night brawl at a hotel in Bangalore involving his 19 year old son. Such laughable comments only go to show the lack of seriousness with which India views the grave threat of terrorism despite it being the most sought after victim. Though there remain some loopholes in the police version of the terrorists arrest, it should leave no one in doubt about the threat these terrorists posed, as it was later revealed by the main stream media that both the arrested had links to Kashmiri militant groups and one of the arrested had a cash prize on his head.

It is chilling to note and makes one shudder, the ease with which terrorists are able to penetrate in to every conceivable pillars of our existence and thereby execute their inhuman deeds that only leave trails of destruction and erosion of belief in humanity. Now that terrorism is pan-Indian, the calm and safe city of Bangalore and as usual the rest of the country, must keep their fingers crossed and live their lives on the edge, as no one knows where and when the terrorism monsters will cause wreck and death on an unimaginable scale to seek glory to their perverted ideology.


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