With recent attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia and France resulting into brutal and senseless killing of 54 innocent human beings, the curse of terrorism is not exactly back. It has been always there amidst us, in some form or the other ever since Palestine-Israel conflict took birth in the late Sixties of last Century. What has raised its ugly and shameless head is the unfortunate incidence of simultaneous, well co-ordinated strikes by the determined, indoctrinated ‘soldiers’ turned suicide bombers. If one draws a line of comparison with serial Mumbai blasts of 1993, the objective appears same-to scare and terrorise. But the modus operandi has undergone a change. No longer, paid agents are to be looked for and guided. Emotionally charged or brain-washed unemployed volunteers are now easily available without much persuasion or difficulty to blow themselves up. Probably same is due to rapid advancement in the means of communication also facilitated by the general neglect of school going children in villages and semi- urban locations by the parents. All are perhaps religiously and meticulously pursuing what they call or consider-JEHAD. Another characteristic feature is –by one direction, three blasts were caused in three different Continents.
2. Maximum casualties vis-à-vis attackers were noticed in a Shiite Mosque in Kuwait’s capital, when a single suicide bomber led to carnage of 25 persons engrossed in the holy act of prayer in a peaceful City State. Maximum deaths-28, however, of innocent persons took place in Tunisia in a mass, reckless shooting at a beach resort full of holiday makers. It was, reportedly, the worst tragedy of this nature in this country. On the contrary, if one looks at the daylight raid on a Gas factory near Lyon in France, fortunately only one person died ,while two were injured. But again what was inhuman or unthinkable was pinning a severed head to the gate. Such a gruesome practice, lately has become very common in the strife-torn Iraq and Syria. ‘Replication’ of same in France or repetition of a terror attack within six months of the last attack concerning the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, raises more questions than providing answers or solutions. Perhaps no civilized set-up or country can resort to a viable and effective safety device when confronted with once unthinkable human bombs or suicide squads.
3. In all three attacks one factor is common-indiscriminate use of soft target to convey message-Go Away, Get Away, Do’nt come back etc. Whether it is the emergence or the phenomenon of J.S.Bhinderwale in Punjab or the Talibans in Afghanistan or Osana-Bin-Laden spreading his tentacles from the Middle East to Afghanistan or the ‘work’of ISI of Pakistan for over 66 years or now fast emerging ISIS, all could be called and considered ‘the educated Frankensteins’. For, all have been tutored ,trained, supplied arms & ammunitions, drugs, cash and what not in a sustained manner to achieve a common goal or purpose. When the intended targets come in conflict with “going out of boot” tendency, when “voice of freedom” is raised to ensure a ‘freedom’ once considered common goal, dissent and disagreement is bound to surface. The splinter groups emerge to give credence and strength, if not to ensure legitimacy and the help of religion is invariably also resorted to. Attack on 155 persons (mostly school children) in Peshawar in Pakistan on 17 /12/2014 and the reign of terror let loose by the Sea Hawks off the coast of Somalia would be burning examples of once comrades turned enemies phenomenon.
4. Any terror attack perpetrated either by small arms proliferation or reckless shootings in a public place or conventional explosions or RDX generated or by taking recourse to upgraded arms & ammunitions (say A.K.47) anywhere, has to be and must be condemned by all humanist minded individuals. Why one is using the expression ’humanist’, it is owing to the fact that “it is easy to be a man or woman but not everyone is humane”. So why shouldn’t we try to inculcate the spirit of humanity even among those who seem to have deviated, if not alienated from the mainstream.
5. Another issue which should be stressed upon at this crucial juncture of the World history is that Why should’nt we give up a ‘Big Brother’ attitude or a tendency to keep one’s interest alive in a zone or the region ,far away from one’s own country. There should be no need to poke nose in the internal affairs of a tiny or relatively small country either in the Middle East or Asia or Africa. Will it not be proper and human if the people of the country concerned are left to decide their own fate even if Monarchy is imposed in the name of Democracy or Dictatorship or the Army Rule comes following a Coup-de-tat. The countries of the World are no longer compartmentalized, isolated or insulated. They are no longer under the clutches or the influence of a single religion or faith. The phenomenon of Global Village is fast taking shape thanks to the spread of literacy and proliferation of social networking habit. The spread of education, Mass media, judicial activism, right to information, awareness towards better health & nutrition, upgraded benefits to the destitute & elderly, all are making a difference everywhere. Right to food, education and basic health facilities have come up and making a certain statement as never before.
6. Under the circumstances, it would be advisable to mind one’s own business. Then only senseless assaults, murders, explosions, suicide attacks etc. may be minimized or reduced, if not eliminated altogether. However, another factor or issue that needs to be kept in mind is that to perpetuate terror will be always the business of some. It may be advisable, therefore, to ignore or undermine such forces or elements but at the same time, suitably tackle them on a ‘as and when basis’.
7. If we look at the example of our own country, we seem to have lost more than a lakh of people in the terrorist attacks in J&K, Punjab, Maharastra, UP, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and many other states since 1982. While Mumbai faced more than 300 deaths in two spells in 1993-94, the country’s capital had to bear the brunt in form of as many as 13 blasts in 1997 alone. When the ‘movement’ peaked in Punjab, it was lying low in J&K. When Punjab, somehow became normal after years of efforts as also supreme sacrifices by the security forces, the ugly head of terror resurfaced in J&K in 1989.Same has been kept alive by the forces and ideologues from across the border in some form or the other even till date despite a long period of Cease-fire between the two countries in between.
8. In addition, India has survived and is expected to do well even while being deprived of a specific Central Law to deal with the terrorist and disruptive activities. TADA, enacted in 1985 and extended on a yearly basis, was finally allowed to lapse due to severe criticism in the wake of its use against non-terrorists in some of the states. The Criminal Law Amendment Bill,1995,expected to replace TADA by getting rid of the controversial clauses, however, could not see the light of the day for want of political consensus. After a gap of few years when terrorist attacks increased manifold, POTA was enacted by further improving and fine-tuning the Criminal Law Amendment Bill.But the Central Govt. of the day soon did away with this hard work of dedicated officers and a few civil society activists to allow it to cause its own premature demise.
9. In the present scenario, therefore, with some amendments in the three major Central Criminal Acts pertaining to terrorist and disruptive activities and Presidential assent to some State Anti-terror laws(such as ,one of Maharastra), situation is being' managed'. Also the saving clause of TADA is invoked at some intervals in respect of capture or extradition of erstwhile Punjab, J&K or Mumbai blast connected accused, mostly from abroad.
10. Whether the current approach is right or wrong or will it work or fail, only time will tell. But learning from the experiences of each other for the sake of regular intelligence sharing and requisite follow up actions, bereft of vested interests, should work, if not succeed. Signing of extradition ,mutual legal assistance and police co-operation treaties together with the use of available and accessible Interpol channels should and must also come to rescue.
11. The role of UNO in the circumstances has to be decisive, crucial and pro-active. One is constrained to state that presumably due to nations having the VETO power, the world body is not performing in the manner, it is expected to. Also the tendency by the super powers to persuade small or vulnerable nations to sign or ratify a treaty or convention without signing by themselves, will have to go forthwith. One can not have a cake and eat it too.