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Strike out

The foiled terrorist strike on the RSS headquarters at Nagpur early on Thursday was not unexpected, even though it is to the credit of the security forces that they acted according to drill and gunned down the three attackers.

india Updated: Jun 02, 2006 01:08 IST

The foiled terrorist strike on the RSS headquarters at Nagpur early on Thursday was not unexpected, even though it is to the credit of the security forces that they acted according to drill and gunned down the three attackers. Fortunately, the terrorists, who had disguised themselves as policemen and were travelling in a car with a beacon atop, did not fool the police barricade. In early 2005, the Intelligence Bureau received information about three Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) groups that had been sent into India — one to attack the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, another to strike at an Information Technology company in Bangalore and the third to hit the RSS headquarters. The first two groups were eliminated, though there was an attack on the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore by a lone terrorist in December. The third module had gone underground. Whether or not they were the attackers of the RSS headquarters is too early to say, but the attempt was certainly no surprise.

Ironically, this incident took place on the same day that India and Pakistan issued a joint statement after the Home Secretary-level talks in Islamabad calling for, among other things, elimination of terrorism. Pakistan will probably publicly condemn the latest act. But privately, its posture on terrorism remains deeply disturbing.

The existence of training camps for Kashmiri insurgents is well-known, but by giving the LeT a free rein, Pakistan is not merely supporting the alleged Kashmiri freedom struggle, but terrorism across India. This is evident from the targets being chosen by the  LeT — they are not just military or economic facilities, but those that will trigger large-scale communal violence across India. This was the message in last July’s foiled attack on the make-shift temple for Lord Ram at the site of the demolished Babri masjid in Ayodhya as well. The RSS, its philosophy and role in fanning communal flames in India are well known, but in a democratic polity we do not fight fire with fire. We give the responsibility to the State, and so it is up to the Union and state governments to counter such strikes and to always ensure that they have the ability to foil them.