INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR--PAPER NO.446
The events in New Delhi since the terrorist strike by the so-called Indian Mujahideen (IM) on September 13 2008, which killed 26 innocentcivilians, should be a matter of concern for all right-thinking Indians.
2. The pent-up anger of large sections of our society over the helplessness and ineptitude of Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister of theGovernment of India, who occupies a position similar to that of the British Home Secretary and the Secretary for Homeland Security in theUS, burst out with many demands either for his resignation from the Cabinet of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh or for his dismissal if herefused to resign.
3. Neither happened. Patil brazenly said: "There is no question of my resigning so long as I retain the confidence of my leader." Whom did hemean by "my leader"? Dr.Manmohan Singh? No. Sonia Gandhi. He himself said so. What he said amounted to his asserting that so long asSonia Gandhi had confidence in him, he did not have to worry about Manmohan Singh, who cannot touch him, or about the hundreds ofinnocent civilians, who have been killed by the jihadi terrorists in recent months..
4. On September 17,2008, Dr.Manmohan Singh addressed the conference of the Governors of the States of India at New Delhi. His addressreflected his concern over the widespread perception right across India that his Government was soft on terrorism and was unable tocontrol it for want of effective legal measures to empower the police to deal with this cancer effectively . It also carried an admission that inaddition to the continuing threat of jihadi terrorism sponsored by Pakistan, India was facing a new dimension to the threat to nationalsecurity due to a number of Indian Muslims gravitating to the ranks of the jihadis .
5. His address was widely welcomed as indicating that he and his Government were at long last coming out of the denial mode into whichthey had kept themselves confined since they came to office in 2004 and were now prepared for action to empower the police against thejihadi terrorists and to counter effectively the activities of the home-grown jihadis, but the hopes were belied within 24 hours. The PrimeMinister was apparently over-ruled by sections of his own colleagues in the Cabinet and in his Congress (I) party and by the other parties,which are part of the ruling coalition.
6. Briefing the media after a special Cabinet meeting to discuss counter-terrorism on September 18, Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, Minister forInformation and Broadcasting in the Cabinet of Manmohan Singh, virtually debunked and nullified what his own Prime Minister had told theGovernors the previous day. He said that there was no need for special powers for the Police to deal with jihadi terrorism. " If the presentlaws are implemented properly, there is no need for additional laws, " he said as reported by "The Hindu" of September 19,2008.
7. Thus, twice within five days of the New Delhi blasts, two senior Ministers of his Cabinet had sought to give an impression as if the PrimeMinister's views on counter-terrorism did not count. His authority in matters relating to counter-terrorism against jihadi terrorists has beensought to be marginalised by members of his own Cabinet and party as well as by members of the ruling coalition.
8. Some weeks ago, when there was a similar attempt to weaken the authority of the Prime Minister in matters relating to India's closerelations with the US and the concretisation of the agreement with the US for civil nuclear co-operation, the Prime Minister reportedlythreatened to resign in protest. This led to his party supporting him in this matter. One would have expected the Prime Minister to similarlythreaten to quit if his authority in matters relating to counter-terrorism is not respected and upheld by his colleagues in the Government andparty. He has chosen not to do so even though the subject of protecting the lives and property of the citizens of this country is a much moreimportant issue than the question of the nuclear agreement with the US.
9. Dasmunshi did not stop with debunking his own Prime Minister and others who spoke of the need for additional laws to deal with jihaditerrorism. He even ridiculed the concerns of the public over the recurring jihadi terrorist strikes across the country. The same issue of "TheHindu" has quoted him as saying : "Can anyone predict a terrorist strike? No Government can prevent it." So, to go by his words, theinnocent civilians of this country have no other option but to keep dying at the hands of the jihadi terrorists.
10.The events of the past few days have further indicated----if further indication was necessary--- as to who lays down the counter-terrorismpolicy of this country against jihadi terrorism.
Sonia Gandhi? No.
The Prime Minister of India? No.
The Home Minister of India? No.
The intelligence chiefs? No.
The police chiefs? No.
11. It is laid down by the leaders of the Muslim community themselves. They indicate the dos and don'ts and the Government does not havethe courage to go against them. There is a systematic attempt by the leaders of the Muslim community to ridicule the results of the policeinvestigation into the activities of the IM. The police are accused of fabricating evidence and of targeting innocent Muslim youth in order todiscredit Islam and the Muslim community. Everytime a suspected jihadi terrorist is sought to be arrested by the police, these leaders andthe members of the community rally to his suppport. They either try to prevent him from being arrested or if the police manage to arrest, tofrustrate his interrogation by making allegations of targeting the Muslim community in order to discredit it.
12. In recent months, the Tamil Nadu police have arrested dozens of Tamil citizens of India on suspicion of their links with the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Do the Tamils allege that their community is being targeted? No.Many Nagas used to be arrested in Nagalandbecause of their alleged links with Naga insurgent organisations? Did the Naga leaders allege that their community was being targeted? No.Many Hindus in Assam are arrested on suspicion of their links with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). Do the leaders of the localHindu community allege that the Hindus are being targeted? No.
13. But the moment the Police arrests a Muslim for any reason-----for being a mafia leader, a narcotics smuggler, a counterfeiter or a jihaditerrorist--- large sections of the Muslim community rise in his or her defence and try to discredit the police by accusing it of targeting thecommunity by fabricating evidence. No leader of the Congress (I) or other parties of the ruling coalition has the courage to tell the Muslimleaders that the law has to take its own course against any wrong-doer whatever be his or her religion or ethnicity or language and that thepolice should do whatever they have to in order to protect the lives and property of the citizens of this country. The leaders of the Muslimcommunity are seeking to create an impression that a Muslim can do no wrong and that all the wrongs are committed by non-Muslims.
14. The comprehensive UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 passed unanimously after the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, inter alia,called upon the member-countries of the UN to take necessary legal measures to further empower the police. India is one of the fewcountries in the world not to have implemented the resolution in toto due to fear of adverse reactions from its Muslim community. TheAzamgarh District of Uttar Pradesh is not located in a remote area of the country where the Police cannot reach. It is in the heart of India. Itwas previously the Sicily of India from which many of the Muslim mafia leaders, narcotics smugglers and other criminals emerged. It is nowbecoming the breeding ground of India's home-grown jihadi terrorism. Many of those arrested in connection with the investigations into theactivities of the IM have had an Azamgarh connection. Azamgarh is slowly emerging as India's South Waziristan, a new radiating point ofjihadi terrorism. The police is not given a free hand to put an end to this spawning ground. The predominantly Muslim areas of this districtare becoming no-go areas for the police----not because the Police do not have the capability to neutralise the emerging jihadi breedinggrounds, but because the political leadership will not allow them to use that capability for fear of displeasing the Muslims.
15.Pleasing the Muslims at any price----by closing our eyes to the depredations of the jihadi terrorists in our midst--- in order to retain theirsupport during the election has become an important driving force of the electoral strategy of the ruling coalition. If hundreds of innocentcivilians have to die as a result, so be it. Keeping the Muslims happy is more important than protecting the lives and property of the citizensof this country.
16. Another disturbing trend has not received the attention it deserved. Many members of the Cabinet of Manmohan Singh and manyleaders of the ruling coalition are reportedly unhappy with the intelligence agencies and the Police for speaking of home-grown jihaditerrorism. They are also reportedly unhappy with the Prime Minister himself for drawing attention to this in his address to the Governors'conference. They want that the focus should continue to be on Pakistan and the terrorists sponsored by Pakistan and that one should nothighlight the role of the Indian Muslims in the global jihad. They are worried that the talk of home-grown jihadi terrorism might increasepressure on the Government to step up the monitoring of developments in the Indian Muslim community and identify and neutralise theIndian Muslims taking to jihadi terrorism.
17. On September 19,2008, Mohan Chand Sharma, a legendary and brave Inspector of the Delhi Police, succumbed to bullet injuries after hewas shot thrice by a group of jihadi terrorists from Azamgarh, who were operating from a hide-out in a Muslim area in the heart of New Delhi.Sharma, with a small team of his officers, had gone to the hide-out to arrest a group of five jihadi terrorists, believed responsible for therecent serial blasts. The cynical reaction of the so-called secular class as a whole to this despicable action of the jihadis has shocked thecountry. The so-called secular political class has vied with one another in praising this brave officer and in announcing financial assistancefor the members of his family. But, not one of them has condemned the Indian jihadis for their despicable crime and called for action to rootout jihadi terrorism in our midst.
18. Fortunately, we are a democratic country. If the Muslims, who constitute only about 15 per cent of the population of the country, havethe power of the vote, the rest of the population has it too. The Hindus constitute about 80 per cent of the population. At the time of voting,every voter should have before his or her eyes the pictures of the death and destruction being caused right across the country by the jihadisand the faces of Sharma and other similar brave officers of the security forces, who have sacrificed their lives in the fight against jihaditerrorists despite the lack of support from the so-called secular political class.
19. Every vote in the forthcoming elections should be a vote against jihadi terrorism and against the political leaders who are not preparedto act against the jihadi terrorists. Let there be an anti-jihadi tsunami against all of them.
20. Thus far and no further----that is the message that should go across to the jihadi terrorists and their political backers and secularapologists. (20-9-08)
(The writer is Additional Secretay (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E0-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )