terror in delhi 10/29
Friday, March 10, 2006
  Secular Vs. Communal Terrorist Attacks

Vir Sanghvi writing (hat tip: Rohit) in the Hindustan Times:

And yet, the political and public response to the Varanasi incident has been completely different from the way in which the Delhi blasts were regarded. Then, nobody played up the Islamic angle. There was a stoic unity within the political establishment. And there was a quiet recognition that though Islamic terrorist groups would attack Indian civilians, Indian society would unite to fight the threat. ... My fear is that the increased communalisation of the response to the Varanasi attacks — as compared to the more secular reaction to the Delhi bombs tells us something about the manner in which many Hindus are beginning to perceive Muslim extremism.
Well we don't want to comment on the political reaction, which in our opinion does not merit further elucidation while discussing serious issues. But how did Mr. Sanghvi arrive at the same conclusion about different public opinions. Does he care to back this up with some opinion poll. As far as we know, we should be equally outraged at every single terror attack against Indian citizens (civilian or military). We believe that all right-thinking Indians will hold similar opinion. And is there something called as a 'secular' and 'communal' terrorist attack? If not, why should there be two diferent reactions. Nevertheless, we invite the reader to go through the whole article which raises many interesting points. In this post, let us ask a counter-question: How did the Big Media treat the two stories? Here is the response: Indian Express editorial after the Delhi terror attacks:
In Delhi — indeed, across India — there is a hardened mood in civil society, a belief that terrorism has simply gone too far. ... Islamabad is seriously misreading the impact of the most destructive terrorist attack on Indian soil, outside Jammu and Kashmir, in 12 years, and the first in the time of 24/7 television. Public pressure on the government has gone up exponentially. ... All this can't be explained away with impotent reasoning like: ''It shows the terrorists' desperation.'' The question is: what is Musharraf doing about it? ... In the end, Musharraf is not going to be judged by what he says on PTV or how he responds to Indian initiatives on the LoC. His test lies in the LeT-run jihadist terror school just outside Lahore. Can the man who invaded Kargil please show the courage to lead his troops into Mudrike? If not, should the world do his job for him?
Note the hawkish position taken back then directly putting the ball in Musharraf's court. Now the same Indian Express editorializes after the Varanasi terror attacks:
fuel communal passions would be tantamount to self-indictment. That's why the entire political establishment needs to be extra cautious. ... to the VHP's description of the Varanasi attack as being a "war against the nation," such rhetoric only plays into the hands of those who have blood on them.
Now the IE is urging "caution" and dubbing realistic assessments like "war against the nation" becomes a mere "rhetoric". In the former, there is a "hardened mood in civil society" vs today's "fuel communal passions". Now onto the Times of India editorial after the Delhi terror attacks:
This is an act of war, doesn't matter that it's not been officially declared as one ... 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. ... 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.
Watch out again for the hawkish position. It even calls for tightened internal security laws and agencies. Now the Times of India editorializes after the Varanasi terror attacks:
important is for the political class to ensure that the blasts do not lead to more violence. Political mobilisation using religious frenzy is as much an anti-national act as the blasts are in these times of national crisis. Outfits like BJP and Samaj-wadi Party have found it convenient to exploit issues of identity to mobilise voters. The Congress, it seems, has not drawn any lessons from the past. The party continues to pander to communal sentiments. ... The challenge in UP is to recapture the political space for citizens. No amount of security measures can help if the political system continues to rot.
Just look at who is politicizing the issue. This time around, there is no "act of war" nor "building a case" against Pakistan. Instead, TOI goes on a wild ride against UP political parties. Both these attacks are by Islamist terrorists (Indian or otherwise) but in any case backed by Pakistan. As Indian, we are pained at every single attack against fellow citizens NO MATTER where it took place. We ourselves are strongly against politicizing counter-terror issues. As we out pointed out before, the media does a great disservice by treating different attacks in different manner. By treating each terror attack differently, the Big Media is falling for the strategy of the terrorists themselves. They will only become even more emboldened to continue attacks against revered places of worship like Mathura, Tirupathi, Sabarimala, etc. How can the media continue to advocate restraint if each of these places are attacked in the future at regular intervals? We've got a big problem here. We don't know what kind of enemy we are dealing with. It is clear there there is increasing involvement of Indian citizens in such attacks. Such people are neither 'poor' nor 'misguided' - it is all well-planned to facilitate the 'deniability' argument from Pakistan while designed to demonize the entire Indian Muslim community as potential terrorists. Only by following a coherent counter-terror policy irrespective of the place of attack, can we send a strong message to the SOBs. The key is to decouple this from electoral issues which should be more about economic growth and jobs. Just like we have a nuclear doctrine, we should develop a coherent, long-term counter-terror doctrine which has to be followed by EVERY government in power. Sure, it is easier said than done - but someone's gotta say it in the first place.
Great Work Maan!

You have torn apart the bullshit of Media.

They are all worked up at the prospect of Any Advantage to BJP/VHP at the cost of urging Govt of India to Show REAL action against Terrorists and their supporters.

Keep it up

Good post,

OT for some reason whenever I visit this blog, it is very slow and hangs my system.

Yug: Thanks.

gaurav: Are you using Internet Explorer browser?
Excellent post, CN.
Its only when their ivory towers are breached that they get serious about "terrorism" et al.

Remember how terrorism on India was, is many times, euphemistically called "Kashmiri freedom struggle"?
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