Benefit of the doubt

Of Tinkoos and Mubaraks

Police ‘encounters’ in India have a certain negative connotation because these have come to have associated extra-judicial killings. The most recent one involving four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who were allegedly targeting the controversial chief minister of Gujarat has sparked off the usual expressions of concern that this encounter too was staged.

While many observers are quick to pre-judge the encounter to be fake (especially because the target, Narendra Modi is no angel), public opinion seems to have completely exonerated the suspects. It is too early to arrive at either conclusion.

Terrorists would find it particularly fulfilling and strategically profitable to target a person like Narendra Modi. A successful assassination of Narendra Modi would have sparked off a fresh bout of violence during a time when the new central government is finding its way around. A successful assassination would be more politically significant than the political advantage Modi derived from its foiling. Given that Musharraf’s Pakistan has not abandoned jihadi terrorism as an instrument of coercion, it is important not to be carried away by the winds of political correctness.

As controversy over Ishrat Jahan Sheikh’s link with Lashker-e-Toiba, continued to snowball, intelligence reports on Tuesday claimed that there was substantial evidence to establish the 19-year-old college student’s connection with the terrorist group and that she had visited some parts of the country with co-conspirator Javed.

The two were part of the LeT and working under the Dubai-based LeT chief, Mujmil, the sources added.

The intelligence sources said six leaders had been named in their hit list and each had been given a code name. “Those whose names were included in the list were L.K. Advani (Lala) Narendra Modi (Mubarak) Praveen Togadia (Tinkoo) Bal Thackeray (Kutta) Vinay Katiyar (Kanta), Uma Bharati (Behenji). “However the risk was highest to Modi”, the sources said. [Indian Express]

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