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Coloured by politics

Terror, whatever the source, is a threat to India. Let’s not use it for political one-upmanship.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2011 23:26 IST

Negative politics has derailed what should have been a meaningful debate into the challenge emerging from recently unearthed terror groups who seem to have been behind the Mecca masjid blast in Hyderabad in 2007, the outrage at Ajmer Sharif dargah, Malegaon in 2008 and last year in Goa. By seeking to dub these outfits as saffron, the Congress, notably All India Congress Committe general secretary Digvijaya Singh, has pitted these subversive elements against so-called Islamic fundamentalists. By dragging in an emotive issue like the call from the late Hemant Karkare who allegedly expressed fears that he was the target of ‘saffron’ terrorists, Mr Singh has further vitiated the atmosphere.

It is possible that Karkare was apprehensive of threats to his life, but one must question Mr Singh’s motive for making this public at a time when investigations are on into the activities of people like Swami Assemanand and his cohorts who seem to have links with several terror attacks. It is condemnable that few seem inclined to denounce terror for what it is instead of politicising it. The BJP appears to be soft-pedalling the issue, perhaps worried about reactions from its parent body the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh which has torn a strip off Mr Singh on the Karkare issue. Terror, whatever the source, has become a grave threat to India’s peace and stability. The home minister has rightly been putting into place several agencies that will tackle this menace in a more comprehensive and coordinated manner. All political parties need to work together on this issue.

Terrorists do not owe their loyalties to any legitimate political formation, a lesson we should have learnt from the incidents in neighbouring Pakistan. To say that some terrorists may be acting in the name of Hindutva cannot be condemned as anti-national. Terrorists have demonstrated that they can strike at will and are able to take advantage of political dissonance of the sort we are witnessing now. Such irresponsible talk can only fuel a fear psychosis and whip up negative public sentiments. A carnage of the magnitude of 26/11 should have galvanised people across the political spectrum to treat terror as the most difficult challenge India faces. Today we have vibrant intelligence-sharing arrangements with several countries, most notably the US. But, we cannot expect people to believe we are serious about the fight against terror if it is reduced to political one-upmanship. Terror has many faces but certainly not different colours.