terror in delhi 10/29
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
  Terror Strikes Varanasi: Plus ca change ...
"Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together" - American author Mark Twain.
Tuesday's terror attacks in Varanasi (Benaras), one of Hinduism's holiest cities has happened just a week ahead of the Indian Spring festival of Holi. It was well-timed (photos via Yahoo) timed to explode during the peak hour when pilgrims usually throng the Sankat Mochan temple with Tuesday being a particularly auspicious day for the Hindu deity Hanuman. The attack has come just two days after President Bush's trip to India and Pakistan. Coincidentally, President Clinton's visit to India in 2000 was precluded by the gruesome murder of 35 Sikhs in Chattisinghpora in Jammu & Kashmir. Since then there have been several attacks targetting Indian civilians starting from the December 2001 Parliament attack, the October 2002 Akshardham temple attack, the August 2003 Mumbai blasts , the October 2005 Ayodhya temple attack, October 2005 suicide bombing in Hyderabad Police Commissioner's Office , the October 2005 Delhi market attacks and the December 2005 IISc Bangalore attack. One can't help observe the coincidence with President Bush's visit to Pakistan turning out to be a rather disappointing one for Gen. Musharraf and the country's elites. The United States's refusal to mediate on the Kashmir issue and the de-hyphenation of its relations with India and Pakistan has clearly rattled them. The motive to order the attack from one their Dirty Tricks Departments is clearly to cause communal violence and tarnish India's image abroad. This time again, Pakistan-based global terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba's name has appeared - they are well-present in India even outside Jammu & Kashmir with a history of attacks against civilians. Per this report dated Jan. 18th, 2006, a Lashkar captive managed to escape near Varanasi. This report from The Calcutta Telegraph dated Feb. 2nd, 2006, reveals the arrest of Lashkar operatives in Calcutta, Jamshedpur and Varanasi. Another report again from The Telegraph shows one of the arrested Tariq Akhtar's role as a terrorist recruiter in Varanasi after having undergone training in Pakistan and Bangladesh with contacts in several Middle Eastern countries. This is shockingly similar to a Jaish-e-Mohammed operative Mohammed Ibrahim arrested in Hyderabad. Akhtar's arrest goes on to show a familiar pattern:
Even after knowing the source of terror as before, there is no point in escalating tensions along the Pakistan border accusing them of sending terrorists when they will conveniently deny any involvement. This will play nicely into the hands of the likes of Michael Krepon who has been screaming about Kashmir becoming a nuclear flash point. In any case, the problem of has to be attended in our own backyard by going after the home-grown terrorists. Worse, following the fatal anti-American protests, specific intelligence sent by the Central Ministry of Home Affairs about this attack has been ignored by the Uttar Pradesh State Police. In any country taking terrorist threat seriously, heads should roll in the Uttar Pradesh security services after such blatant intelligence errors (by negligence or otherwise). Alas, we have seen such blunders gone unnoticed before - so why bother this time. Obviously such people cannot thrive without support from their local communities. Uttar Pradesh is a hotbed for criminals masquerading as politicians, hate-mongers as Ministers of State and tons of illiterate people with skewed priorities in life. It is also the home of the notorious Islamist sect Darul Uloom Deoband . We think that Indian Muslim organizations should take this opportunity to strongly condemn such violence and carry out protest marches against the same. If they can protest against United States 'imperialist' policies in faraway Afghanistan and Iraq, they sure can protest against the killing of fellow citizens in their holy site of worship. This will not only remove the needless finger-pointing and suspicions from common folks but also sends out a strong message to the world at large and particularly to terrorist groups wanting to recruit amongst them. At this point, the Indian Government should at the minimum:
Well, coming back to the real world, we are not expecting much from the clueless GoI. After all, life goes on for average Indian citizen and we've been there and done that several times already. When it comes to handling terrorism in India, plus ça change, plus c' est la même chose. Related post: Anatomy of a Terror Attack.
CN -
Your link to the Sankatmochan temple points to one in Lucknow (not Varanasi).

Nice post.

(I posted this on Nitin's Blog)

While the actual bombing may be handiwork of few persons who may be foreign nationals. However the execution of the terrorist attacks needs a comprehensive infrastructure which has to be supported from inside.

First make no mistake it is an attack on Hindus.

Second More than any random secratarian violence , it is imperative for Hindus to understand what they are up against. What first commentator is suggesting will just worsen the situation

Third Hindus have to force our secular masters to accept the reality.

Fourth Recent years have seen ghettozition of Muslims this must stop. Muslims especially those belonging to poor class require modern education not arabic studies.Merely condemning will not achieve anything. The rot can not be stymed with rhetoric

Fifth The politics of competitive minorityism must stop.

Sixth Let ’s stop this “India doesn’t have al- qaeda” canard

Cynical Nerd,

I have printed this out to read in leisure today. On a cursory look, it appears to have the hallmark of the standard rigor that you repeatedly demonstrate. Keep up the good work and thank you for helping to shape the discussion not just on terrorism but on the nuclear agenda in Indian blogosphere. I will try to widely circulate this too.

Best regards
well researched and very nice post.
Cynical nerd just one point

The Darul Uloom Deoband is a long established Madrassa in India..It is widely respected in the Muslim community in India.The ulama of deoband were associated with Jamiat A ulema Hind ,which supported the Congress during the freedom movement.Prominent ulema associated with Deoband have written critiques of Maulana Maudodi (who is generally called an Islamist).Deoband being Islamist ? It is ultra conservative yes but not Islamist.There was absolutely no need to bring the Darul Uloom Deoband into the context of terrorist attacks in Banaras .You really don't know what you are talking about here.May be you should do more research and then talk.For example read Barbara Metcalf's book on the institution.
Or read http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2005%5C11%5C30%5Cstory_30-11-2005_pg3_4
So Jaffna his post does not have "intellectual rigour".
Agree with your proposed action points for the government, but not the overall sentiment that sectarianism would solve this (by doubtinggaurav). A peaceful India should be our ultimate goal. The whole thing is a tragedy for sure. Good post and great discussion.
Manu: thanks, Right let us know the correct link, if there is one.

gaurav: many valid points, alas we don't expect much from the government.

jaffna: you are very kind with your words.

ankan: Thanks.

history_lover: if you think calling deobandi is islamist is unfair, you should go ahead and edit this wikipedia. It is upto you how to call them, but they are clearly anti-reforimist with some pretty virulent ideas (the Taliban got influenced by them) remember that certain maulvis in mangalore were involved in the bangalore attacks. i don't hear the deobandis denounce terror - let's hear that loud and clear.

archana: your aims are noble. there is no point rioting in india when the impulse is coming from outside albeit with strong support in certain pockets.

Cynical nerd

The Darul Uloom Deoband is an institution.As I have already said it is ultra conservative and has been criticized as such in both muslim and other circles.Their stand on issues is well-known nad entirely predictable.It is not clear to me why the Darul Uloom should issue a statement on every terror attack.It is an educational institution for God's sake.
Organizations associated with the Darul Uloom have condemned terror attacks.
Frankly we muslims are fed up of accusations that "you did not condemn terror attack.You protested against this why did you not protest against that "

See An illustrative example is the October 31 edition of Inquilab, the largest selling Urdu daily published from Mumbai, which carried a 5-column boxed story on top of page three under the heading, "Muslim bodies strongly condemn the Delhi bomb blasts". The sub-heading read: "Demand for severest possible punishment for those attempting to disturb peace and communal harmony in the country". The report published statements from top religious heads of the Darul Uloom, Deoband, Jamaat-e-Islami, Hind, Jamiat-e-Ulema, Hind, Imam of the Shahi Fatehpuri Mosque, the All India Milli Council and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, United Muslims of India and several others, each of which were a ringing denunciation of the "inhuman" and "un-Islamic" terrorist act.
from http://www.sabrang.com/cc/archive/2005/nov05/opinion.html
These Blasts could never have succeeded without covert and overt support from the local community . The situation in UP had been volatile for quite some time now .4 persons were killed in anti-Bush Demonstrations at Lucknow. Thosie in power in UP and the UPA led government has been playing with fire for a long time . Infact the mainstream English Media which specilises in Hindu bashing spent very little newsprint and time on The SamajvadiMLA who announced a REWARD of 51 crores for the murder of the english cartoonist. In other countries you could be jailed for inciting passion and hatred . But we do not mind because the game of populism , minority appeasement is like a game of musical chairs which keeps on happening in intervals . I heard Rajnath Singh waxing eloquently about “Soft State ” Pray what did the BJP GOvt do when it was in Power . Atal talked about Ar-Par ki Ladai only to capitulate to talking Peace with Pakistan . What did Narendra Modi do when the atack on Akshardham take place .
Muslims must ponder and think about themsleves and where they stand in the civilized world . Why is it that the entire part of the world that is inhabited by them is disturbed .Where are the Moderate Muslim Leaders ? . What are they doing to spread this hate amongst them that anything that does not conform to their kind of life should be attacked and plundered .


I intend to read CN's post later in the day. It is hectic at work. I read your comments alone (since they are shorter) and here's a response.

I note that you are exasperated at the repeated calls on Muslims to denounce terror attacks. The fact remains, however, that many terror attacks conducted or attempted today have been in the name of Islam. I refer to Madrid, New York, London, Delhi, Bali, Istanbul and the reported attempt in Sydney. Hence it is beholden on the Muslim populace to denounce such attacks. You yourself in another place referred to Fiqh and Sabr.

About the Deoband, the Taleban belonged to the Deoband school. That is hardly edifying. We have had this discussion before i.e. Deoband vs Barelvi.

Had Israel launched a missile attack on Mecca - it would have led to worldwide riots. The attack in Benares in comparable.And in light of this, it merits Muslim denunciation more than the Delhi bombs did.

Best regards
History Lover,
I very much sympathise with you.
Terrorist attacks are very much symbolic nature, its implications should be read not in the number of people killed or injured, but on its intention and audacity to injure the very soul of a particular community or nation. In this respect the attack on Benaras is very disturbing. True, majority of the Muslim in India is not associated with terror, but they carry a heavy burden to prove themselves as true Indian. It would be the same in any other country........
These attacks are aimed to remind the majority of secular Indians that the Indian position on Nuclear and Iran, perceived by some as anti muslim, that they will be mentally tortured........

These terrorists donot give any dam for their own community, who so ever they may be, ...they indeed want a reaction from the affected community.......I hope that atleast the Government will not fall in to this trap.....could not say about the Hindus, particularly in UP.

These acts should not affect our resolve to go ahead with the Nuclear Deal and a better bilateral relations with US and even with Pakistan. If we keep rubbing the itching sore, it will become a septic, rather pour cold water and ignore the itch, we will be better off. While our first reaction is to rub, history tells that the best cure is to ignore if it is allergic and take antihistamin. This will make us better Indians


Dream on! Like an ostrich that buries its head in the sand.
Excellent Post; I'm hooked on your blog already...

Couldn't help responding to your comments. According to your blog, you are living in an increasingly hostile place. Well, try the West, may be even Saudi A. I hope you'll finally realise how much better it is for an ordinary muslim to be in India than anywhere else.

About your comments, I think its muslims like you that are responsible for Islam's current state. The reason is, instead of admitting and fixing, you're defending and 'apparantely' supporting. You've managed to turn Islam upside down, Congrats. If being in technology couldn't help your outlook, then I can't imagine what else can. May be seeing logic for logic's sake will help. Good luck there, buddy!

You are betraying your hurt feelings for, what you think right or wrong, are wrong accusations against the Deoband school. Condemning the attacks on another faith's holy place will help in reducing the hurt feelings of that community, if you care.

But I'm really glad that you are protesting as any like any other ordinary human, and muslims are among those too, should protest.

But please relook at the reasons why your neighbourhood may be becoming an increasingly hostile place for someone with such an outlook on life and humanity. May the defect is in your own code, not anyone else's.
Hi Anonymous

Bravo, Ostrich is also the fastest and strongest bird and because of these inherent strengths they walk tall among the preditors.

The present era is not an era of confrontation and whipping, but of compromise and reasoning. You seem to getting all your values wrong. Take any issue did any one in the last decade gain from confrontation, be it US on Iraq or Al Qayda on US. We pay the price with the human lives, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian and evan Bhudhist. Gandhi is more relevant today when the world has the power to self immulate its own destruction. Only our reasoning and a sense of fairness will safe us from this, not the hatred and war of words. Grow up Anonymous. If we are propogating hatred these Blogs will loose their meaning, I propose that Wikipedia should not be allowed to be hijacked on dogmatic ideology and communal hatred.........
Good Luck
Ostrich visionary

Sweet dreams. Your head is firmly ensconced in the sand. Keep it up.

one swallow does not make a summer, besides, the article in the link doesnt really paint a great picture of the deoband seminary. If you scroll the link yourself, you'll read that the author talks of demonising other sects as "kafirs".

And there are enough instances of Pakistani terror organisations that spew with deobandi ideology, in fact, there's little or no wahabbi ideology, in Pakistan.

And as for the muslim organisations need to condem such blasts, CN has made the point already.
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news and views about the terror attacks in new delhi on october the 29th 2005. alerting citizens of all civilized nations on new terror threats.

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