Our cold showers for a blood bath will invite many more Hyderabads
Blood from the bodies of innocents massacred by terrorist bombs over the years continues to ooze and inundate more geographical landmass. It has only one colour. But India’s vote-hungry political leaders don’t hesitate to give different hues to the perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity. They condemn the act, but fight like cats and dogs when it comes to identifying the roots of terror and cutting them off forever. The Parliament debate on the Hyderabad blasts that killed 16 people and injured 119 reflected both the ideological and administrative division within the political establishment on fixing responsibility for preventing the explosions. Instead, they were involved in pinning down the other side for playing politics in the name of blood. But none were willing to name the source, which promotes, finances and even leads bloody attacks on the idea of a united and genuinely secular India.
On the evening after the blasts, the ever-smiling Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was more worried about the words he would use while making his statement in Parliament the next day, rather than ponder on the failure of the state government in preventing the bombings, in spite of having received prior information. He spent all night watching live reports on TV, while his officers and that of the state government were busy finding excuses for the intelligence failure. The next morning, in both Houses, Shinde was the target of both his opponents and allies. They were hard on him, but were soft and ambivalent on the ways and means to tackle the rising menace of the murderous mercenaries of religious fundamentalism. None of the 40-odd speakers from various political parties suggested any feasible and foolproof action plan to deal with the Hydra-headed monster. For them, terror has become yet another tool to expand their share in the voter’s market. Not one leader questioned the government over its failure to bring to justice the villains who have caused such a huge loss of human lives.
The way the Hyderabad blasts were handled symbolise the mind of the Indian establishment. It seems to have reconciled to the idea of living with periodic terror attacks in various parts of the country. It is busy dreaming of the Indian growth story and ignoring the evil forces that are striking at the very roots of a stable economy and democracy. It wakes up only when a gang of fearless butchers strikes. After making the usual ritualistic speeches, it’s back to slumber after the blood has dried on the streets and political parties have agreed on a ceasefire. During the past two decades, over 500 people have been killed in terror attacks in India. Yet, the nation is nowhere near a consensus over the tone and content of strong anti-terror laws. Some lawmakers mention in private that when they sit at the table to formulate counter-terror mechanisms, they are told to keep religious sensitivities and the implications of the legal framework in mind before proposing any solution for consideration to the government. While the UPA seems unwilling to commit itself to any consensual legislation, it has once again revived its agenda of imposing Central agencies on state governments. Once again, it made a strong pitch to set up a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in all states, with the power to arrest any suspicious individual as a potential terrorist. In fact, an attempt was made to link the Hyderabad incident with the absence of an effective nationwide intelligence agency. India is already flooded with so many agencies that deal with intelligence gathering. Instead of making them stronger and accountable, the Centre is pushing for yet another elitist organisation, which may be managed by private agencies. Unfortunately, it didn’t bother to look at the various anti-terror bills sent by various non-Congress-ruled states for the President’s approval, and choose some of the best suggestions to be incorporated in a Central legislation against terror. Tragically, both the states and the Centre are dealing with terror as if the corpses of victims were like any property, which has to be equally inherited for the purposes of control and management. It is only in India where the secret hanging of a terrorist, who brutalised the symbol of democracy, becomes a subject of heated debate and protest. Even those who worship and blindly follow the American culture of getting rid of the “enemies” of the American people in secret bases like Guantanamo joined the chorus against Afzal Guru’s execution in Tihar Jail.
Shockingly, there is reluctance among the political class in naming the source of terror in the Hyderabad blasts. No one anywhere in the world is in doubt that Pakistan is the world’s terror capital and its military rulers are the promoters. But naming Pakistan has become an unpardonable sin for the Indian establishment. Even the BJP leaders who spoke in Parliament refrained from directly blaming India’s hostile neighbour. It was left to its octogenarian leader L K Advani to take Pakistan head on. For the past few weeks, various terror groups and their chieftains have been spewing venom and threatening violent attacks against India in their speeches in various Pakistani cities. Back home, solid evidence about the involvement of Pakistan-based organisations in the Hyderabad blasts have been underplayed by those who claim to influence opinions and policies. Those purveyors of glamorous peace marches and legislation with a human touch forget that terror knows only one weapon. An eye for an eye, bodies for a body, and not cold showers for a blood bath.
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