What or whom do we blame for our terrorism deaths?
Now that everyone knows that it’s not America, Britain or Israel who lost the most lives to terror…its India, (if one leaves out Iraq) can we demand some answers from our government?
Why is our country suffering so much? I thought I would try and find the answers to these questions…but when I started to, I had no idea that I would find so many of them! I found eleven, and it was much like opening a can of worms.
Let me summarize these points for you here…mostly gleaned from newspaper reports (they are not listed in order of importance):
2. India has a ‘soft’ attitude towards tackling terror. This could mean a lack of aggressive posturing by those in the highest office towards Pakistan and Bangladesh in the international fora or it could be our typically defensive stances. For example taking the trouble to provide Pakistan of “evidence on individual acts of terrorism, which will naturally be rejected by Pakistan.” Such behavior tells them that we are weak.
We just might be doing this to try and keep the US happy (they need Musharuff and Pakistan to fight Al Qaeda). Perhaps we like to believe that Mush cannot control the jehadis.
3. We are not militarily aggressive like America or Israel.
4. The widespread corruption in our country makes it easy for terrorists to get an Indian identity and get away if caught. By bribing a few officials it is easy to make fake passports, ration cards and other documents. Its cheap and its quick. For just Rs 35,000 (865 USD), anyone who ‘looks’ Indian can acquire Indian citizenship and that too in just 45 days!
And worse, suspected terrorists are let off with a few bribes. Early this year eight suspected Lashker-e-Toiba militants who entered Indian waters through the sea-route were caught, but were “mysteriously let off.” It is alleged that Rs 10 lakh changed hands.
Corruption has become so much a part and parcel of life in India that people have stopped thinking of the repercussions.
5. India scrapped the draconian legislation, POTA (Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act, which allowed detention of suspects without the filing of charges and allowed law enforcement agencies to withhold the identities of witnesses and treat confessions as an admission of guilt) because it led to human rights violations. The law was replaced by TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act and this law isn’t good enough…but I think that its our weak and slow judiciary, and its susceptibility to corruption which is the greater problem.
6. India takes a soft approach to tackling terrorism to appease the minorities for political gains. This ranges from a fear of making large scale arrests and searches, to a reluctance to arrest suspected terrorists, specially if these suspects are contesting elections. It is known that criminals are active in Indian politics.
Interestingly, the Andhra Pradesh government claimed that they could not take preventive action inspite of getting a warning of the blasts in Hyderabd as they were afraid of causing Hindu-Muslims riots. This was probably an exaggerated claim to whitewash their inaction, but yes, Muslims organizations do complain of harassment by the police during searches. It is a delicate balance to achieve…conduct searches and question people, but don’t harrass. I don’t think we have achieved this balance…and I wonder if it is possible to achieve it.
7. We do not allocate sufficient funds to fight terrorism. For example we do not use surveillance equipment on a large enough scale. Terrorism in the UK has vastly reduced because of the use of surveillance cameras.
8. There are suspicions of a terrorist politician nexus in some northern states like Jammu & Kashmir.
9. India simply cannot cope because it is facing terrorism of all kinds and from all sides! In the north eastern states there is insurgency, and there are naxalites in the northern regions. And ofcourse, terrorists attacks from jehadi groups from Pakistan.
10. India is surrounded by politically unstable nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal who because of their very nature are good ‘breeding grounds’ for terrorists. In fact, as this report explains so well, our neighbor Pakistan is now considered “the largest exporter of terrorism’ to the rest of the world.
11. Overall, there is a casual attitude towards security as policemen do not check people as well as they should.
In general there is lax security. Even educational institutions don’t bother to check antecedents of students! They may have a radical background and have been denied admission in their own countries…but India welcomes them!
Well, I certainly think that our government, our investigators and our judiciary need to get their act together and we citizens too. We are to blame for tolerating corruption. As for waging a war on Pakistan, I doubt whether that will solve anything.
On a more positive note, India has come a long way in the last two decades and its ability of fight terrorism has improved greatly. Various counter-terrorism strategies have been developed and border surveillance has increased. So much so that terrorists are being forced to use sea-routes to get into India more easily. Lets hope that more is done…in other words we need more political will and we need greater vigilance from citizens and less tolerance!
Related Reading: Was repealing POTA (anti-terrorism law) a mistake?
Sleeper cells proliferate while the government sleeps
Better security with higher technology
Lets not call them terrorists, let us call them criminals