Fanning tentacles of terror

By K.N. Pandita

Karnataka police have arrested eleven persons for alleged links with premier Pakistani terrorist organizations, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Harakatu’l-Jihad-i- Islami. Disclosures made by the arrested persons are significant. Firstly, they have revealed that vital nuclear, naval, army and industrial installations in the country were the targets they had identified for their planned attacks. Secondly, they have revealed that terror sponsored from across the border is designed to spread its tentacles far and wide in Southern India. Their accomplices have been picked up from Naded in Maharashtra and from Hyderabad in Andhra for interrogation and further investigation.  

Northern India, particularly Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, have had their share of terrorist depredations. Effective counter terrorist action by the security forces brought down the menace and restored law and order. Pakistani strategists and policy planners failed to make any headway and, consequently, have come under severe public criticism. Therefore to avenge their failure, both on operational and political fronts, they have now focused on Southern India.  Most of our critical infrastructure is located in Southern India, like nuclear plants, vital industries, chemical plants and scientific and technological research institutes etc.  Above all, Mumbai is India’s commercial hub and 2008 attack was essentially meant to inflict serious set back on our financial health.

Obviously, it will be the effort of Pakistan-based terrorist organizations entrusted with the mission of conducting subversive activities in India to forge linkage between their local activists in the north and south of the country. Spade work for a grand alliance of sorts has already been done. Many Pakistani terrorists captured in Kashmir have, in a number of cases, revealed their organizational links in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi. This linkage has been facilitated by the existence in South India of a large number of technical colleges and institutes to which students from all parts of the country and especially from the north flock for admission. Some of these institutions, especially those structured along minority or sectarian parameters, have become fertile ground for breeding the ideology of subversion. We should not bring the onus of indoctrination only to the religious seminaries called madrasahs.  Government authorities in affected southern states are in possession of full intelligence in this regard but there is lack of decision and action of how to curb anti-national elements. Politics of vote bank is the bane of elected governments in states, and, unfortunately, it has overshadowed the substantive importance of critical national interests. Therefore while we appreciate the alertness of the police in Karnataka or Maharashtra to have busted the terror module, we need to take a deeper and more intensive look at the entire anti-national scenario with its roots in history. It is not a subject for exclusive consideration of one or the other mainstream political party in the country; it is a major national issue in which proxy war is now carried to the very core of Indian nationalism. Hence Indian nationalism shall have to be re-interpreted and re-discovered. When besides vital objects like nuclear plants, naval and military installations, airports,  railway stations and metros, critical factories, rare chemical plants etc., MPs, MLAs and IPs are also identified as targets, is it not time that we sit back and re-interpret Indian nationalism and our national interests. The question is this: should secular democracy allow proliferation of anti-national subversion under cover of protecting human, political and minority rights cliché? Comprehensive debate on the proposition should ensue in the Indian civil society. The subject cannot be pushed under the carpet and actors should not be allowed to buy time.

Any attempt of minimizing terrorist activities in any part of the country is undeniably fraught with serious and far-reaching consequences. The recent incident in Kashmir in which more than a dozen heavily armed terrorists – an assorted group of Pakistanis and Kashmiris – swooped on the labourers working at Wullar barrage, dismantled and vandalized the structures  and forbade the labourers continuing work on the barrage should be an eye opener. The contractor of the project said in very loud and clear words that the militants did not ask for money but they would not allow the work on barrage to continue. True, the work will not stop and the government will deploy force to resume the project. But the message from the terrorists is loud and clear. All that one can say is this: stop politicizing terrorism and uphold national interests supreme in all conditions.

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