Nearly two-dozen people dead in clashes reported from six states across the country in the last 24 hours, 100 injured and many more homeless. These figures have put the security establishment on edge.
“There is too much happening…” mumbled the middle-ranking official at the Home Ministry as he put aside the red folder containing the bunch of documents, most of them with varying classifications of secrecy, for his perusal.
“It is just not the numbers that are worrying…” the official said, concerned but not worried. “…it is how it is getting to be so easy to tear the social fabric, almost into pieces… how trouble just seems to be spreading from one place to another.”
“We have been moving from one incident to another,” said another official, likening the ministry to a fire fighter.
Officials say the security establishment has been on its toes ever since politicians and separatists raked up a controversy over the ownership of a 100 acre plot earmarked for Amarnath yatris.
As the Centre tried fire fighting in J&K and elsewhere, came the serial blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and then Delhi.
The ministry has been under pressure for weeks trying to assist Orissa and Karnataka in quelling violence against Christians, sending one advisory after another asking them to step up vigilance against troublemakers. Over the weekend, clashes between two communities pushed two more states, Assam and Maharashtra, into the country’s list of hotspots.
“I think we have seen too much action packed in too short a time… more importantly all of it under the media gaze,” said a senior ministry official, requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
“Otherwise, fewer civilians have lost lives in communal violence or insurgency this year than they did in any year over the past decade,” he said.