Three more bombs were found in Surat. With that the number of bombs found is now 23 and two explosive laden cars! There were 16 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad. At least 9 blasts happened in Bangalore. So, around 50 bombs were used at least! Now, behind each bomb is at least ONE perpetrator. And it can be reasonably assumed that backing every person who actually plants that bomb is one more person providing the logistic support.
Soon, we are looking at 100 people who were mobilized across the country to orchestrate a series of terror bombings within a few days! Of course, the Indian intelligence is really not the most stellar organizations in its class in the world by any stretch but to pull this off even with the low levels of CBI and RAW’s expertise, would have required some amount of heavy expenditure – to train and to provide logistic support from the place of training to get to the place of action and finally getting the bomb material to them!! Now, we are looking at substantial investment in money terms.
So, who was it that could have done it. Not many such “terror investors” out there with some good and ready-to-go training facilities.. are they? B. Raman, the guy I believe in most in these things points to Dawood Ibrahim. He may be right! After all he does have the patronage – unflinching and unwavering – of the Pakistani Intelligence agency (ISI) – who also double up as a good training instructors. There are a few schools on terror training in this region, but the ISI run ones are certainly the elite ones!
The other peg in this entire game that I can think of is LTTE. That organization is the hidden joker that not many think of, but which has a rich (infamous certainly) history of having made deals with Pakistan’s ISI for various gains including arms and money. That it fights for its “Tamil Hindu cause” is absolute nonsense if ever there was one of those causes!! Sheikh Hasina’s assassination attempt and helping ISI smuggle arms to Gujarat by providing maritime help have been recorded by Indian intelligence services even earlier.
While ISI might have succeeded in establishing a base in Gujarat, it lacks the capacity to operate in a coastal environment, which needs specialised skills. LTTE has mastered the skill of carrying out maritime operations. Highly placed intelligence sources believe that a ‘deal’ was struck between the ISI and the LTTE earlier this year in January-February, at Colombo.
“Under the deal, the LTTE will train militant organisations (for maritime capability) of the ISI and in return they will be provided with arms and financial resources,” said an intelligence source.
What can be done to fight terrorism in India? HT’s Neelesh Mishra talks of 10 ways to fight terror, which are as below (with my notes and changes):
1. Create a network of surveillance cameras: With a large population, and with little ability to check the terror with human intelligence, there is only so much we can do without the technical help. We need round the clock surveillance of the main areas of the city. Obviously it could be gamed, but places like airports, bus stands, etc should be under 24/7/365 surveillance. HT gives these figures:
A good quality four-camera system that will pan and take images from all directions for up to 60 feet costs just Rs 11,500. Five thousands such cameras in New Delhi would cost Rs 57.5 crores.
2. Pump money into forensics and computer intelligence: The technical labs and our capabilities need to be strengthened! A lot of what goes on in terms of discussion between terrorists happens on the internet. Indian system and intelligence is really weak in this area!! We obviously need to strengthen it and pump some serious money in to this area. Like HT says, until recently, Jharkhand’s forensic department was running in a cowshed!!
3. Create a Vehicle Tracking system: India obviously needs a strong and robust vehicle tracking mechanism. Every vehicle in the US can be tracked from “cradle to grave” based on that VIN, so why not have that system in India? All the VINs in a central database.. so that the vehicles can be tracked all the way.
4. Shopkeepers as sleuths: Ordinary people and citizens need to help. Its no longer the task of the intelligence agencies. Everyone needs to chip in for their own benefit.
5. Get the National ID cards system in order: Ok, this one is a tricky thing that has been played around with to make money for politicians. Someone like that guy who built the Delhi Metro needs to be in charge of such a project to just get the thing in! We need a system which is useful and cannot be easily gamed. A system that is flexible and is central to the Indian citizenship and residence! 180 million Indians do not have a voter’s card even after Rs. 1500 crores have been spent on it! Across the border, Pakistan Government has done a much better job of this!
Across the border in Pakistan , officials have done it seamlessly: The National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) has issued 60 million ID cards, and is set to issue them to all 150 million eligible Pakistanis. Pakistan ahs also launched multi-biometric E-Passports with sophisticated security features.
6. National law on terror: Ok, so the 2002 Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) was bad. But was that a good enough reason to throw the entire baby out of the bath-tub? If we have to fight the terror, we need some strong ways to do it. There is no two ways out of it. The throwing out of that law showed teh electorate very clearly that who were the people in the government who covertly sponsored terrorism in India from within!
7. Create a Department of National Security: US has done and it needs to be done by other countries. We cannot fight the world of terrorism by fragmented responses. It has to be a joint effort and a synchronised one.
8. National database of suspects and profiling of the possible suspects: Ok, profiling is a bad word. But you know – too bad.. everyone of these terrorists is a Muslim and swears by Quran and Prophet Muhammad. As much as it hurts some community – that is the ultimate truth. There is little that anyone else can do about it.
I don’t care what the others in that faith think about the book or their Prophet, but there is enough stuff presumably in that legacy that unfailingly inspires people to kill babies, women, and even the already dying (one of the bombs exploded near the trauma center of Dhanwantari Hospital!!)!
Frankly, I consider such people (terrorists) as the lowest form of existence! They have lost humanity (obviously) but they don’t even deserve to be compared to animals! So, there is a method in how a perfectly pious human being is converted to someone who is even below animalistic instincts. That conversion process needs to be well understood. Who does it? How it happens? And how can one catch that process in between so such a conversion from humans to below-animals does not happen for many.
Also, if institutions like Deoband etc have really not produced many scientists and engineers but is a hotbed of religious intolerance (as it is and several like it are) then, I do not see much reason to have such an institution running in India. Those who would really like to still study in such things should take it somewhere else.. maybe in Saudi Arabia but I do not see how it benefits any of the Indian youth! I have interacted with the Muslim youth in UP and I could see their frustration with the lack of normal educational opportunities and no other institution has done as much to harm the future of Indian Muslim youth as Deoband and its network of Madrasas!
9. Modernise and invest in the CBI: If we need to do better then the arm which helps us keep a tab on the internal intelligence needs improvement. Without question.
10. Help improve the the police capabilities: even the local thug has better weapons than most police officers. How do you think he can even fight the terrorists? We need to make them better equiped and paid and trained!
Other things that we need to do:
11. Involve the local chowkidars and other such people: Many postmen and chowkidars are well equipped to get enough knowledge if they are looking for it. Why not enrol them on the national payroll for such surveillance?
Finally, something needs to be done with the future of Indian Muslim youth. They are too many and too easily affected by those who are ready to use them as canon fodder for some idiotic ends. The only way is to wean them away from the useless education that is provided by the religious institutions like Madrasas (and I would now – with the rise and genesis of SIMI at Aligarh Muslim University “SIMI has its roots in the Aligarh Muslim University.”- say even institutions like Aligarh Muslims University).
Its not that one wants the Muslim youth of today and tomorrow to be less religious – but it really needs to have modicum of opportunities for itself to even have a room for religion in his life! And those who keep harping on religion cannot be “kept at home” are plain idiots. To be religious – in and out of your house – religion should seep into your soul… into your thoughts…. into your mind… into your actions.. and be reflected as piety.
If all that is not there, then the outward clothing, the beard, the mechanistic actions have no meaning whatsoever! If the outward and shallow religion is what people want to carry outside their house, then they are not even doing justice to their own spiritual book and obvious doing a disservice to the rest of the world.
Of course, personally, I consider religion to have no – absolutely NO – relationship to spiritual progress. Religion is the greatest impediment to a spiritual journey!
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