Times of India Editorial Speaks Out
TIMES EDITORIAL: Enough is enough
We can either dismiss what happened in Delhi on Saturday as just another in a long line of terror attacks on Indian soil, and pray that there’s at least a decent interval before we are hit again. Or, we can send out a hard-hitting, unambiguous message: that we are not willing to accept such outrages as part of our fate, and are determined to do whatever it takes to protect our citizens. This is no occasion to be genteel and ‘civilised’ in our response. It’s time we got angry. Not a blind anger that lashes out at everything in its path—for that would play into the hands of the very people who perpetrate such acts of terror, and be self-defeating. But an anger that builds resolve, that ensures we do not forget the mothers, fathers and children who went shopping for Diwali and Id and whose pictures poured into newspaper offices a few hours later, except that they were disfigured and charred beyond recognition.
This is an act of war, doesn’t matter that it’s not been officially declared as one.
It calls for a scale and intensity of response comparable to London’s, where the number of deaths was actually fewer than Delhi’s and far, far fewer than Mumbai’s in 1993. This paper has consistently waged a war for peace, and we remain committed to that path. But it’s equally clear that peace cannot be a one-way road. There are indications that the perpetrators of the serial blasts may have been schooled in jihadi hatred on Pakistani soil. The burden of evidence points to the Lashkar-e-Toiba
; one of its offshoots has already claimed responsibility for the crime. LeT had tried to mar August 15 and were waiting for the next big celebration to hit India. The group has sleeper cells across the country and doesn’t necessarily depend on Kashmir to ferry in terrorists. It can call in operatives based in Nepal and Bangladesh. That it continues to enjoy Islamabad’s patronage is no secret.
It may be premature to walk away from the negotiating table, at least not until such time as there is clinching evidence of Islamabad’s complicity. But New Delhi must tenaciously work at building a case that proves that Pakistani soil remains the springboard of terror attacks and go international with it. On the domestic front, there is a crying need to strengthen our soft infrastructure: just as we need world-class roads and ports, we also need world-class law and order, intelligence and anti-terror agencies. Finally—and much as we may dislike the idea—we need to accept that in times such as these, even a democratic, civil society must accept that there can be limits to freedom. The US has made itself extremely unpopular with its new homeland security laws, but if that’s what it takes to save innocent lives, it’s a sacrifice worth making.