By Invitation: Delivering a message

India must send a strong message to terrorists and their sponsors

The BangaloreGuy

The attack in Bangalore is just the latest in a series of such incidents carried out by terrorists with good support from their Pakistan-based, and lately Bangladesh-based sponsors. The question a lot of people ask after this is whether Bangalore is a soft target for terrorists. It is the wrong question. For practically any civilian “target” is a soft target anywhere in the world. The question to ask is this: are we reacting to such terrorist attacks the correct way?

Terrorist attacks are, per se, not intended to vanquish — the terrorists and their planners know that they face an impossible task in trying to defeat the state, and hence their attack is intended to cause panic, fear, anarchy, or all of the above. They intend to deliver the message that because “their religion/land was insulted, or their grandma fell ill and could not tell them a bed time story etc.,” — take your pick — it is somehow your fault, and that you will have to pay for it – with your life. And that they can, nay, will get you, anytime and anywhere — on your way to work, while celebrating a festival or while you are out having a good time with your family. Fear is the message they intend to get across.

The correct riposte that a society can indeed deliver to such people is that its people won’t be cowed down, and that acts of terror are of little consequence in changing the way they live. And many societies have responded in this manner. But this is not enough. While the intended spread of fear can be negated by such a response, it does not put a stop to actual acts of terror.

What goes a great way in stopping terrorists and their machinations is acting against them and their sponsors. Stopping the acts of terrorism is important, after all, what use is of being a free country, if its government cannot protect the most basic right of its citizens: the right to live?

While terrorists strive to deliver their message, we must not forget that every action or inaction of ours sends them a message. We can repeat endlessly about “decisive battles” or about “not cowing down to terrorism”. More importantly we need to send signal to the terrorists that they will not go scot-free, no matter where they are. That killing innocent civilians will have a consequence, even an irrational consequence like war. That is the message we need to deliver. The best way of doing that is of course to strike at the organizational capabilities of the terrorists.

This response to terrorism is touted as characteristic of a “hard” state. It is not so. This response is of a state that is prepared to take all steps to defend the right of its citizens to live. As a democracy, that is exactly what India must do.

The BangaloreGuy usually expresses his opinions at BombatBengluru.

8 thoughts on “By Invitation: Delivering a message”

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  2. Nitin,

    After every terror attack, we have not progressed beyond a two line condemnation. After a short interval, life again returns to normal, and we all return to “all is hunky dory” kind of attitude. It should be no surprise when these random killings become another “a day in the life of India.”

    Absolutely nothing can be expected from this morally corrupt spineless government.

  3. BangaloreGuy:

    I’d say putting tough counter-terror law is one step. It alone cannot solve the problem. In fact, it will also trample upon civil liberties at home. Ofcourse, we do not have enough manpower to guard every research institution, software parks, malls, etc.

    Hitting the terrorist where it hurts them the most is what we should do. My take here.


  4. Cynic,

    I did not refer to counter-terrorism laws actually, I actually advocated counter-terror operations across the border and the LoC, when I talked of stopping terror, or striking at their organisational capabilities(roots), and not even ruling out an Irrational reaction like threatening a war.

  5. There is a place called Shivaji Nagar in Bangalore. Full of supporters and cheerleaders of these terrorists. If the government is serious – the least we need is an acknowledgement that such people exist.

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