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Godhara, Boston, Bangalore: Striking Terror

If passengers are burnt alive inside a rail compartment, the railway staff, such as the coach attendant and Railway Police on duty on the train, are totally responsible and the rail minister should own moral responsibility and resign for failing to provide security to passengers. Isn’t it in the name of passenger amenities and safety that the Rail Minister justifies increase in rail fares in the rail budget? Every day crimes on trains are taking place because of the complicity of the rail staff. Those in need of proof must travel in trains entering and exiting Delhi from UP & Haryana side and see the criminals taking over the train. Women criminals in the guise of salespersons and eunuchs indulge in aggressive behaviour threatening hapless passengers protesting their attacks if they even mention calling the police. Vendors have the audacity to even don the uniform of the railway catering staff. What makes any rail minister, past or present, think that it is not his responsibility to ensure security of the travelling passengers? Had the railways not indulged in total dereliction of their duties to the travelling public that fateful day at Godhara, the human tragedy resulting in riots would have been averted. That the country was thrown into the vortex of communal riots by such irresponsible behaviour of the railway staff only needs no elaboration. Instances of civil tensions resulting from the actions of derelict staff are aplenty in India: police not discharging their duty of policing, teachers not teaching or sub-contracting their jobs to ineligible persons, doctors not devoted to hospital services, revenue authorities encouraging smuggling activities, civil servants doing anything but service to the people etc. are only some of the instances of derelict conduct on the part of those getting paid from the public exchequer. That dereliction does cost the nation dearly has been proved by the burning alive of the passengers in the Sabarmati Express at Godhara by organized gangs of criminals at the behest of their political masters. That it has never been investigated, is the strongest evidence that the dastardly act was meticulously planned in advance and executed with flawless expertise. It did succeed in achieving its objective: to incite communal riots and blame the state and the central government that happened to be ruled by the opposition parties (parties other than the Congress Party).

It is a grave mistake to Ignore these patterns of hate attacks, for its practitioners had successfully harvested rich political dividends every time they employed that tried and tested tactic. It was the same trick that was employed in the Babri incident: those secretly encouraged to go ahead with their aggressive plans were so myopic that they didn’t visualise the impending trouble and costs awaiting to be imposed on them for long; and those opposed to it were instantly embraced the moment imprudent acts were performed briefly. Can any rational Indian believe that it was not possible for the Government of India to stall any such undesirable action? If the government’s aim was to forestall communal riots, it could have stopped the Babri incident adroitly. But the aim seems to be political windfall from the communal divide and bad-blood for several decades. Even a true bureaucrat of a Home Secretary could have sensed exactly what was going to happen and its repercussions. That exactly is the job of the Home Secretary to the Government of India. He is one bureaucrat who keeps a tab on every development in India regarding internal security matters. He is the one officer who can walk into the office of the Prime Minister any time if the situation so demands. The Home Secretary is assisted by an elaborate infrastructure and huge number of central police forces, some of whom are stationed at the trouble spots. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) works under the Home Secretary. Then there is the Home Minister and the Prime Minister. Unless they demonstrated collective and individual dereliction of duty deliberately, they were complicit in whatever happened in the Babri incident and its aftermath. It certainly yielded rich electoral dividends to the political parties in the name of secularism and painted their opponents as communal, though they have never specified as to they mean by secularism. Incidentally, there are scores of political parties that lay claim to secularism and indulge in friendly fights in elections and thereafter. These secularists have studiously kept silent on terrorist attacks in America and Europe (not to mention India), lest their secularism becomes suspect and they suffer loss of vote banks in elections. Bereft of vote bank support, most of them would have been cooling their heels in jails for corruption and other heinous crimes like murder or rape. It is a matter of concern that such criminals move about under the protection of the security arrangements. If people lose faith in democracy or justice after witnessing these criminals roaming around under protection, they can’t be blamed!

If terrorist activities have not been checked in India, the reason is cloudy secularism. On the one hand, innocent youth are becoming victims of organized criminal gangs, and on the other, not a single national or international event or festival goes without the trepidations of a looming terror attack. This environment has been created by the mistaken views of secularism by the vote bank politics of India. It throws a liberal society in to the medieval ages at once: massacres, arsons, kidnappings, rapes, burning of crops, destruction of iconic structures, brutality to children as young as 6 months, women, elderly, sick, animals, poisoning of the sources of drinking water etc. What effect are the Boston bombings having? What costs did the 9/11 impose on America and the world? It has converted human society in to terror stricken civil society. It has imposed huge costs of unproductive security at airports and other public places. Now even a marathon is unconceivable without elaborate security arrangements. It means no civilized activities are safe from terrorism. And who is behind it? The Supremacists of Medieval religions, who preach hatred for others and indulge in religious conversions by tricks, inducements or coercion. These religions have no respect for other religions practising tolerance or not indulging in religious conversions.

Unless religions stop preaching violence, terrorism will not end. Whether they will ever understand the value of tolerance and co-existence, is in serious doubt. Their past record and renewed vigour for expansion under fire power such as bombings does not allow one to hope for that. Terrorism will demand in future an altogether a new approach, an approach sturdier than the brand of Indian secularism and vote bank politics, or the human rights rhetoric, or the umpteen civil rights campaigns. Repeated bomb attacks on civilians everywhere in the world round the year compel us to take a very serious note of these developments and meet the challenge effectively. President Barack Obama might succeed in making the Boston bombers “feel the full weight of justice”, but countries like India will suffer deadly consequences with justice getting ridiculed at every stage for decades and even retired judges of the highest court of the land i.e. the Supreme Court taking the liberty of making irrational pronouncements once the judgement is delivered. Meanwhile, politicians will un-regretfully continue to make political gains out of communal riots engineered by their own brigades of followers. But after gaining expertise in their Indian operations, will they not try them in Europe or America or China? Remember their novelty- the pressure cooker bomb- is perhaps the most outstanding achievement after making of the atom bomb!

It is time for the world governments to take stock of the available brands of secularism in the comity of nations and draw up some kind of a convention.

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