Tuesday, December 7, 2010



Shri R.Swaminathan, a former leading China expert of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), passed away in a New Delhi hospital in the early hours of the morning of December 8,2010, after suffering a heart attack. He was 78. He was the President and Director-General of the New Delhi based International Institute of Security & Safety Management and Vice-President of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. He had gone to Delhi from Chennai where he was living to attend a meeting of the Institute.

2. Shri Swaminathan joined the Indian Police Service ( IPS) in 1954. After his training in the Central Police Training College (CPTC), Mount Abu, he was allotted to the cadre of the then undivided Madras State. He was transferred to the Andhra Pradesh cadre when Madras was divided and Andhra Pradesh was formed.

3. After spending a few years in the State, he joined the Intelligence Bureau (IB) of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India under the IB's earmarking scheme. Under this scheme, officers who had done exceptionally well during the training at the CPTC were taken permanently into the IB after they had done their district training in their State of allotment. He joined the R&AW after its formation in September,1968.

4. In the IB, he belonged to a small hard core of officers under the leadership of the late R.N.Kao set up by B.N.Mallick, the then Director of the IB (DIB), after the Sino-Indian war of 1962 to revamp the capability of the IB for the collection and analysis of China-related intelligence. He continued to specialise on China after joining the R&AW. Even though he was a generalist officer from the IPS, he acquired a remarkable capability for the collection and analysis of human and technical intelligence relating to China. Technical intelligence was his forte. Kao used him for setting up and supervising the China-related monitoring set-up of the R&AW.

5. There is hardly any specialsed set-up of the R&AW and the Directorate-General of Security (DGS) in which he had not served. He was a highly-regarded expert in the collection of technical intelligence from ground stations as well as aerial platforms. He did the spade work for the visit of Kao to China in October,1984 and subsequently served as the Principal Staff Officer to Shri G.C.Saxena when he headed the R&AW. In 1985-1986, he played a very active and highly-commended role in the negotiations of the Government of India with the Mizo National Front, which ultimately brought peace to Mizoram.

6.He retired in December,1990, as Special Secretary, DG (Security), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India. After his retirement, he settled down in Bangalore for some years and then shifted to Chennai. He was living alone in Chennai after the death of his wife four years ago.

7. He played an active role in organising the activities of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. The Centre greatly profited from his knowledge of China. He was also associated with other non-governmental organisations based in Chennai such as the Catalyst, focusing on improving governance, the Chennai Chapter of the Observer Research Foundation in which he was a frequent speaker on national security related issues and the Centre For Asian Studies. (8-12-10)




The Indian Mujahideen is active, but weaker and its remnants, which have so far escaped detection and arrest by the police, have probably a reduced capability. That is the conclusion possible on the basis of the details available so far regarding the explosion in Varanasi, the Hindu holy city, on the evening ( shortly after 6 PM) of December 7,2010. The explosion itself caused the death of one child and injured five adults. About 20 others were injured in a stampede that followed. At least one foreign tourist was among the injured.

2. It has been reported that the improvised explosive device (IED) used in the incident was kept inside a container used for carrying milk. The terrorists wanted to register their presence and continued determination to keep launching terrorist attacks, but did not aim at large or mass casualties. If they had intended to organize a large or mass casualty attack they would have mixed the explosive material with projectiles such as nails, ball bearings etc and used a smaller container in which they would have tightly packed the explosive material and the projectiles. They had apparently not done so. Another improvised explosive device of low intensity was reportedly found in a nearby dustbin.

3. The IED, which exploded, had been planted at a place where about 5,000 Hindu devotees and tourists---Indian and foreign--- gather every evening to watch a well-choreographed religious function called “aarti” on the banks of the Ganges near the famous Kasi Vishwanath temple. The explosion took place on a Tuesday, which is an important day for the devotees of the Hindu God Hanuman. The two explosions of March 7,2006---one in a Hanuman temple and the other in the waiting room of a local railway station---also took place on a Tuesday. Those two of 2006 were intended to be large casualty attacks and resulted in the deaths of 28 persons. No foreign tourists were affected.

4.The investigation into the March 7,2006, explosions established the involvement of three Bangladeshi Muslims belonging to the Bangladesh branch of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI-B) and six Indian Muslims. The Indian Muslims were arrested and prosecuted, but the Bangladeshi Muslims, who had assembled the IEDs, managed to flee to Bangladesh. All the Indian Muslims involved had been trained by the Pakistan branch of the HUJI in its training camps in Pakistan. Salient points of the investigation into the March 7,2006, incidents are given in the Annexure.

5. Those involved in the March 7,2006, explosions had projected them as acts of reprisal against the demolition of the Babri Masjid in the Hindu holy city of Ayodhya on December 6,1992, and the anti-Muslim incidents in Gujarat in February,2002, following the cold-blooded massacre of a group of Hindu pilgrims traveling by train at the Godhra railway station in Gujarat. Since March,2006, Varanasi had been free of lethal terrorist attacks despite its high vulnerability.

6. The explosion of December 7,2010, has taken place a day after the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid. An e-mailed message purporting to be from the Indian Mujahideen (IM)--- carrying the December 6 dateline, but sent on December 7--- has claimed responsibility for the attack. It has projected the attack as in reprisal against a recent court judgement relating to the ownership of the land on which the Babri Masjid stood. The Muslims felt aggrieved by the judgement which they see as based on Hindu religious beliefs and not on provable evidence. They have expressed their determination to have it set aside by a higher court. Incidents of violence were feared by the police on the day the judgement was delivered by the court, but nothing untoward happened. A delayed violent act of reprisal has now come on December 7,2010, from unidentified elements claiming to be from the IM. The message purporting to be from the IM expresses the determination of the IM to keep up its fight on the Babri Masjid issue.

7. The years 2007-2008 saw a series of high lethality explosions carried out by the IM in two cities of Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and New Delhi. A number of suspects from the IM were arrested by the police and are being prosecuted. Some members---including some leading brains--- of the IM have escaped arrest. They are believed to be either absconding somewhere in India or in Pakistan or the Gulf.

8. These arrests considerably weakened the terrorist infrastructure of the IM in Indian territory and there were no incidents involving the IM between September 2008, when the Delhi explosions took place, and February 2010. The IM was apparently regrouping and reorganizing itself during this period. There has been a revival of its activities since February,2010, as indicated by three attacks. In the first attack inside the so-called German bakery in Pune in February 2010, there were 17 deaths caused by an IED. In the second attack on September 19,2010, in which two Taiwanese tourists were injured, a hand-held gun was used by two terrorists on a motor-bike--- a new modus operandi (MO) not used by the IM before. An E-mailed message purporting to be from the IM had indirectly claimed responsibility for the attack and warned of more attacks during the Commonwealth Games in October. They were not able to carry out the warning due to tight security by the police and other security agencies.

9. In the third incident on December 7, the terrorists have reverted back to their old and preferred MO of using IEDs. The low casualties can be attributed to either the present low IED capability of the IM terrorists still at large or a desire to avoid large or mass casualties while remaining active. Preliminary details do not indicate the involvement of outside elements---either from Pakistan or from Bangladesh or both. (8-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



* The first blast took place around 6:20 p.m. (IST) at the Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple.
* Minutes after the first blast, another blast took place at a waiting room at the Varanasi cantonment railway station.
* Three live bombs were recovered from the temple complex and one was recovered from a nearby restaurant.
* Live bombs were also recovered from Godolia and Dashaswamedh ghat. The Dashaswamedh Ghat is the place where the IED had been planted on December 7,2010.

The Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police, which investigated the two explosions, announced on April 5,2006, that its investigation had established that the two explosions were carried out by three terrorists of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami of Bangladesh, known as HUJI (B), with local help provided by one Walilullah, the Imam of a mosque at Phulpur in Allahabad, and five other Indian Muslims.

While Walilullah and the five other Indian Muslims, who had helped the three terrorists from Bangladesh, were arrested, the three terrorists, who actually carried out the explosions, managed to go back to Bangladesh after carrying out the terrorist strikes. The UP Police described Walilullah as the Eastern UP Area Commander of HUJI (B). In a confessional statement, Walilullah reportedly cited the demolition of the Babri Masjid in UP in December 1992 by a Hindu mob and the anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in February,2002, as the reasons for the terrorist strikes against the temple and at the railway station. He projected the twin blasts as acts of reprisal terrorism. He gave the names of the three persons, who came from Bangladesh to carry out the explosions, as Bashiruddin alias Bashir,Mustafiz and Zakaria, all Bangladeshi nationals. According to his version, they had studied along with him at the Deoband seminary in UP some years ago and he had been in touch with them since then.

Walilullah had once been arrested by the Allahabad Police in 2001 on suspicion of his links with the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) of Pakistan. He was released after eight months without being prosecuted. Bashiruddin took him to Bangladesh in June 2004 and introduced him to one Maulana Asadullah of HUJI (B), who enrolled him into the organisation and appointed him as its Area Commander for Eastern UP.

The other five Indian Muslims arrested were Syed Shuib and Farhaan (Lucknow), Mohammad Rizwan Siddiqui and Mohammad Saad Ali (Amroha) and Shahid (Allahabad). They were working in a power loom in Bhiwandi near Mumbai. All the arrested Indian Muslims were reported to have confessed that they had visited Pakistan via Bangladesh for training in jihadi terrorism, organised by Maulana Asadullah.



The confidential cables exchanged between the US State Department and the US diplomatic missions abroad, which have been released by WikiLeaks, expose the following five myths:

* Firstly, the myth of Islamic solidarity. One finds rulers of the Islamic world and the rulers of Pakistan willing and wanting to secretly collaborate with the US against their adversaries and rivals, even if they are Muslims. Thus, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Gulf are willing to support US operations against Iran. The Pakistani rulers carry tales against each other to their American interlocutors and vie with one another in projecting themselves as more pro-American than others. All their public proclamations of Islamic solidarity are a sham.
* Secondly, the myth of US solidarity with India in the fight against jihadi terrorism originating from Pakistan. The US has been following double standards in the matter of action against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. There has been no change in this even under President Barack Obama. Copious tears for the victims of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Indian territory and tacit understanding of the so-called Pakistani compulsions in continuing to use terrorism against India continue to be the two features of the US policy. One does not see any sense of shock or anger in the US State Department and in the US missions in Pakistan over Pakistan's use of terrorism against India. Deplorable, but understandable----that continues to be the US attitude.The WikiLeaks would have made a great contribution to our fight against terrorism, if the leaked documents make us rid ourselves of the illusions regarding the US in our mind and draw up our own strategy for dealing with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. The US has not shown a readiness to act against Pakistan for 29 years since it started wielding the weapon of terrorism in 1981. It is not going to act in the years to come either.
* Thirdly, the myth of US victory in the war against terrorism in Iraq and of the coming victory in Afghanistan. Both Iraq and Afghanistan are going from bade to worse. The NATO policy-makers are clueless in Afghanistan. The jihadis are prepared to fight against the US and keep it bleeding for as long as necessary. The US is unable to prevail over them. If the jihadis prevail over the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, a new crop of Afghan returnees will descend on India. The end to our fight against jihadi terrorism is not for tomorrow.
* Fourthly, the myth of genuine Chinese friendship for India. The leaked cables make it clear that China is not prepared to accept India as an equal permanent member of the UN Security Council with the same status and veto power as China.
* Fifthly, the myth of morality and ethics being the guiding principles of the Obama administration. That they are not so is evident from the cable of the State Department to the US Permanent Mission in the UN Headquarters to collect personal details of the staff of the UN Secretariat. This is apparently for using those details to recruit the staff of the UN Secretariat for intelligence operations. ( 7-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )