No politics with terrorism, please | india | Hindustan Times
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No politics with terrorism, please

India is no stranger to violence and terror — Naxal strikes, Khalistani attacks, Kashmiri mayhem. But today, the country looks different. It appears aflame everywhere. Amit Baruah tells more.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2008 00:41 IST
Amit Baruah

“National security has become much more of a political issue than it ever was in my day… Parties are tending to use it as a way of trying to get at the other side. You know, ‘We’re more tough on terrorism than you are.’ I think that’s a bad move, quite frankly.”

Stella Rimington, a former chief of the British intelligence agency MI5, was talking about post-9/11 England in a recent interview with The Guardian. But what she said is equally applicable to India.

Guwahati, Kokrajhar, Barpeta, Imphal, Kanpur, Agartala, Malegaon, Modasa, New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Japiur. No, this is not a geography lesson. It’s where terrorists have used explosive-laden bicycles, motorcycles and cars to dismember and maim innocent people.

And, we haven’t a clue where and when they will strike next.

India is no stranger to violence and terror — Naxal strikes, Khalistani attacks, Kashmiri mayhem — we have lived through all this.

But today, the country looks different. It appears aflame everywhere. Stepping out of your house could be dangerous; shopping or catching a film could turn into a hazardous exercise.

And then, of course, is the continuing carnage against hapless Christians in Orissa and the sad spectacle of lumpen elements deciding who should and should not live in Mumbai.

Political parties, meanwhile, fiddle. Meetings and visits to hospitals substitute for action. It’s a time of unprecedented national crisis, but leadership is missing. Forget leadership from the front.

The State must perform when innocent citizens call out for help.