“Never again.” Again.

I was watching Shark yesterday night when CNN-IBN first reported some firing at Cafe Leopold, and said it was some gang war with Nigerians involved. By 11 pm, however, it was clear that it was an unprecedented terrorist attack (because of its overt nature and scale), and that a hostage drama was in progress. The first question that came to my mind was – where the hell are the NSG? The delay in pressing the commando unit into action is astonishing – they didn’t start operations until early morning, Thursday. Three of Mumbai Police’s senior cops were shot dead in a single incident, something that, as a television anchor suggested, made the police realize that things are beyond their control. In the mean time, Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh was somewhere in Kerala, trying to reach Mumbai; so Maharashtra’s chief “moral policeman” and Home Minister – R.R. Patil was probably handling affairs.

The Indian PM Manmohan Singh has issued his usual “never again” statement, has hinted at an external hand, and said such incidents will not be tolerated

We will take up strongly with our neighbours that the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated, and that there would be a cost if suitable measures are not taken by them.

Empty promises that are absolutely worthless. The UPA is absolutely worthless as far as terrorism is considered (not that the BJP-led NDA is any better). But it is the international reaction to the P-word that surprises me (actually, it doesn’t). Whenever ‘Pakistan’ is mentioned in connection with a terrorist attack in India, the usual response from Pakistan is a quick dismissal, and the international community looks the other way as if the word was not mentioned. That the Indian law enforcement agencies are not able to come up with evidence that can implicate specific individuals and agencies is another problem. Newsweek has a story on a possible Pakistan connection to the whole affair. But as always, by Monday, everything will be forgotten. The Pakistani army and the ISI have the final word on Pakistani foreign policy, and Zardari and the Pakistani PM, Gilani, are as clueless or helpless as Nawaz Sharif was when Musharaff went behind his back to take on India and lead the Pakistani Army to a crushing defeat in Kargil way back in 1999. Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir will one day prove to be its undoing and unfortunately, India will suffer collateral damage.

There have been tens of terror attacks in India. They cannot be prevented entirely, but their frequency and intensity can surely be reduced. What we need is hard work and intelligence, political will and long term planning; but that is probably too much to ask for in a shortcut nation. More importantly, those caught in the process should be prosecuted and jailed as soon as possible. But that doesn’t happen in India. After every terror attack, the stupid right wing will cry hoarse about lack of strong laws – Maharashtra has the draconian MCOCA in place, so does Delhi. How did that help? How will strong laws “prevent” terror attacks? John Elliott says that security in India is a ritual. Oftentimes, so is the police response in the aftermath of terror attacks. Depending on who their political masters are, some people will be rounded up, regardless of whether or not they are involved, just so the formalities are complete. Do people even care if the “real” perpetrators are brought to book? I don’t think so. Most of them simply want to see someone pay the price – blind vendetta. Given this fact, I don’t think things will ever change. People who think they will, are simply dreaming.

There is only one good thing, if I can call it that, that I can say about the whole affair. The terrorists keep blowing things up, and as far as the fidayeen are concerned, kill themselves in the process. But they don’t understand one thing about India. Its a huge country – multiple languages, multiple religions, multiple cultures. For 5000 years it has suffered multiple threats and invasions and attacks. But, in spite of all its short comings and hypocrisies, back stabbings and politicking, it always survives.

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Comments

  • janamejayan  On November 28, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Sir,

    In spite of your rationalism you are no aristotle! You preach platonian fatalism by standing aside and making comments!!

    Can you be more proactive than saying in Gandhian style: “Take the beating, it couldn’t pain you!”

  • Aristotle The Geek  On November 28, 2008 at 7:21 am

    “You preach platonian fatalism by standing aside and making comments!!”
    I never said I was “the” Aristotle, did I? I am no nihilist or preacher of “fatalism”; Plato can go and rot in hell. I state what I believe will happen. If you don’t believe what I believe, you are a great optimist. Good for you. Though I don’t see the source of such optimism.

    Further, I don’t understand what it is that you find so fatalistic in what I wrote.

  • you12  On November 28, 2008 at 11:39 am

    The distinct thing about the reactions of these attacks is the response of the international community.

    Since they have been attacked indirectly and everyone knows its Pakistan,they are no longer treating it as a just usual business between India and Pakistan.

    Tell you what, in the coming few days we are going to see some unusual developments. And if UPA does not stand up this time it may very well go down.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On November 28, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    “they are no longer treating it as a just usual business between India and Pakistan.”
    Obama needs Pakistan more than he needs India for his Afghanistan adventures; that is, India will be expected to be magnanimous.

    “if UPA does not stand up this time it may very well go down.”
    Its going down in any case. The next elections will throw up a hung parliament. And as things stand at present, I am betting on Mayawati.

  • you12  On November 28, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    “Obama needs Pakistan more than he needs India for his Afghanistan adventures; that is, India will be expected to be magnanimous.”

    Still India will respond. Although wiping out terrorism completely is not going to happen as terrorism is great for votebanks.

    Hmm.. Mayawati. No I don’t see that happening. She doesn’t seem to have that AllIndia appeal. Going by the track record,Most of our prime ministers have been moderate and well educated.

  • Aristotle The Geek  On November 28, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    The last time India responded, we lost hundreds of army men without firing a single bullet. Let’s see what happens. I am not very optimistic though, as I said.

    About Mayawati, she does not need an all India appeal. If she manages about 50-60 seats, the “third front” will welcome her. Again, elections are a long way off. I will predict again in Feb-Mar when things become more clear.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On November 28, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Maharashtra has the draconian MCOCA in place, so does Delhi. How did that help? How will strong laws “prevent” terror attacks?
    no it doesn’t. though, the concept behind tough but useless laws are to scare people. just like the death penalty… or even life sentence. but does that stop people from murdering other people? NO. but that doesn’t mean we do nothing and have no tough laws.

    we need to have laws. tough laws. and laws that are implemented thoroughly.bus formality ke liye yaar

  • Aristotle The Geek  On November 29, 2008 at 2:24 am

    By tougher laws, the BJP, and now Manmohan Singh refer to laws under which the burden of proof is considerably lessened. Something like this

    On the legal front, this is a wake-up call for the necessity of having stringent anti-terror laws. Tightened detention provisions, such as no bail for 365 days for suspects, are a must. Terror suspects often get bail and are free to join their networks again. On the other hand, if a suspect is put away for a year, not only does it give more time to investigators but also deprives terror modules of a member. It saves precious lives, if not preventing future attacks. The only concern here being that civil liberties of ordinary citizens should not be circumscribed.

    and this

    To nail terrorists and check terrorism, the government is ready with stringent norms through amendments to the Karnataka
    Control of Organized Crime Act (KCOCA). Terror suspects may have to spend two months in custody, at least six months in jail and lose their assets — all these immediately after arrest.

    Not conviction, but simply arrest based on suspicion.

    It would be tragic if we replaced one kind of terror with another.

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