PERHAPS THE time has come for us to come to terms with two hard realities. One, that terrorism has become a part of our lives. Only we don’t know where, when and how it would hit us.
Two, the politicians would never be humane, as they would never shy or shudder from doing politics even on dead bodies as long as it yields them votes. We have silently seen or suffered it all – in the holy city of Varanasi in March and now in the financial capital of the country, Mumbai.
And by now we also know that what follows every terror strike are nationwide high alerts, security drills, hectic probes and raids, may be some arrests or eliminations and profuse mundane statements of politicians condemning each other more than the terrorist’s outfits.
Thus if there is any ray of hope, it comes from the people of this nation who display exemplary courage and compassion in times of such crises. Perhaps the alert citizens will have to foil the designs of anti-national forces, too, instead of coming together for relief operations only. Nonetheless, just as we had then saluted the people of Varanasi, we today, in the same spirit, say, ‘Salaam Mumbai’.
It is actually hard to fathom as to why any politician should come out, even faintly, in support of any outfit, directly or indirectly involved in such terror acts? How can they, the politicians, simply overlook the grieving families burying their near and dear ones, whose lives have been short-circuited by terror attacks? Also, how can the chief minister of the state, where the ‘outfit’ was born and has grown, display softness, if not fully support it, that too at the time when the Intelligence agencies are pointing their fingers towards it? And if at all the chief minister, who too has access to information, is doing so, should the Centre totally ignore it?
In fact ever since Mulayam or his brother Shivpal Singh Yadav gave statements that hinted their support to SIMI, questions are being asked, “Why should Mulayam Singh Yadav do that? Those who know him also know that he is the last politician who would ever want his name to be clubbed with a hardliner like Narendra Modi. Then why?
Answer comes from a question that I was asked by a young boy at a career counselling session. The boy from Varanasi demanded to know the action that should be initiated against the media for painting certain Islamic organizations black. He was obviously referring to SIMI. The answer also comes from a discussion heard at a barber’s shop by a colleague. Some Muslim boys were assailing the Centre for seeing the hand of SIMI in every terrorist act in the country. Yes, the banned organisation has built for it support among illiterate and unemployed youths who are driven to such illegal paths by the abject poverty that they live in or even the mistrust that the society has for them. As I tried to explain that a terrorist is a terrorist, neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, I did try to gauge the support that the banned organisation had in the state through the questions that followed.
Isn’t it strange that a banned outfit like SIMI, with whatever links that it has across the borders, architects such barbaric acts and also implements them with such precision that even the Intelligence sleuths are left totally baffled. In fact, one must review the laws allowing ban on such organisations. There has to be lacunae. RSS grew during emergency. It was banned then. SIMI is flourishing today, spreading its tentacles all over the country, despite a ban.
This should serve as an eye-opener. While SIMI national chief is addressing a press conference in Delhi, the Intelligence sleuths are quizzing the state chief in Kanpur in connection with Mumbai blasts. In other words banning an organisation hardly helps in restricting their members from allegedly committing such heinous crimes.
What should be done in such a scenario? Politicians won’t come together to condemn such outfits in one voice. Mulayam wants Muslims support; Narendra Modi has his eye on the Hindu vote bank. In other words the communal divide that the terrorist outfits want in this country exists at the highest level. Perhaps one issue on which neither Mulayam nor Modi would have any difference is on weakening these outfits by plugging the supply chain (the vulnerable youth who falls into their trap). Dr M I H Farooqi, retired deputy director of NBRI quotes in his book, ‘Status of Muslim Societies,’ “There was a time when Islamic Civilisation was considered to be the most advanced, tolerant and progressive in the world. This was mainly because of their accomplishments in practically all the disciplines of knowledge. After 16th century, the situation changed drastically.” Quoting UNDP’s Human Development Index report that describes living conditions of all the religious societies, Farooqi writes, “Christian society is the most advanced society of the world with regard to education, health and economic wealth whereas Muslim society is among the most backward on these counts”. Sadly neither the state nor the central government has any plans of improving their status and believe it or not our weakness is their (the terrorist outfits) strength.
The only politician who has come with some sensible statement after Mumbai blasts is the Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal. The minister’s prescription for attacks like the one in Varanasi and Mumbai is “technology against terror’. The minister said, “Human intervention alone will not be sufficient. We need to built a national data bank on sources of RDX etc”. After all they too are using ‘technology for terror’. Can’t we replace it with “technology against terror”. I am sure the political parties too will be unanimous on this count.