Terrorists attack Varanasi

An attempt to ignite a larger conflagaration

Terrorists have carried out a provocative attack on the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Pakistani-sponsored jihadi groups are suspected of having carried out the attacks.

  • Cynical Nerd has an excellent early report
  • B Raman warns that politicising the attack (which has already begun) will play into the hands of the terrorists.
  • Somini Sengupta of the New York Times does her journalistic scepticism thing. Not only where they “terrorist attacks” (her quotes) but they were only ‘apparently coordinated explosions’ (here the quotes are mine). Update: The editors decided that the scepticism was unwarranted.
  • GreatBong rips political correctness apart

51 thoughts on “Terrorists attack Varanasi”

  1. I think we need more secularism in India. That and more soft borders. Yeah. And more buses and trains between India and Pakistan. Not to forget more support for Mullah Singh Yadav. It would be good to have more ministers of political parties offering loot to murderers. We need more Pakistanis to be admitted into India; the few thousand Pakistanis missing in India is definitely not sufficient to create the havoc they do and the home grown terrorists are not doing enough suicide bombing. In response to these bombs, we need to increase more reservations for minorities in both the private and public sectors. The list of responses are limitless. The only things in the reject list is: strict law enforcement.

  2. Nitin,

    While the actual bombing may be handiwork of few persons who may be foreign nations. 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.

    Fifth The politics of competitive minorityism must stop.

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


  3. I thought the first commenter was being sarcastic…

    Our imperative must be to maintain India as a land of diversity reflecting true Hindu values of unity and peace. That said, removing corruption from law enforcement and taking a hard line on terrorism of any kind is key. But promoting sectarianism or Hindu superiority is not the answer.

  4. Archana

    The first comment has been deleted.
    I referered to that.

    I do not understand why do you think I am proposing Hindu superiority.

    The attack was on a Hindu temple and a Hindu crowd.

    This was not the first time and this won’t be the last time.

    Our secular class has failed to defend or protect Hindus.

    Therefore I want Hindus to be aware of the dangers.

    Taking a hardline on terrorism is a good thing, but why do people ignore the root of this.


  5. 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 .. 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 .

  6. The power game in politics & sp the so called the number game
    [ read-magical Lok Sabha figure] in the largest [MP funding] State have gone a long way to help these terrorists activities & outfits…
    The politicians and power brokers now have a very thin line left between mafias and antisocials & in the process now & they themselves dont know when they have linked so much with these terrorists that they have passed their power to them, one thing they must remember these ppl’s mission is not the same as them to have money & power only .Their game of minority politics will drown them too in the long run

    the bigger pic is more grim .I fail to understand why 90% of international terriosts groups are muslims and why the world sees them as the most unrest religion…
    its a high time for them to understand that the world has started to
    see them as the trouble makers .For a cartoon they stromed cities and made hell of a issue ? The moderates should come up
    change the pic [well if hardly there’s any I believe

  7. “Our secular class has failed to defend or protect Hindus”

    Is it the duty of secular class to protect Hindus Sikhs Buddhists and Muslims?? Secular people are not the problem anywhere, they try to be part of a solution. The problem is with religious fundamentalists who always identify themself as the victims and then they induce ordinary people to go around killing each other. Which is in-line with the goals of the terrorists.

  8. Indian,

    It is the duty of State to protect Hindus,
    And guess who has a monopoly on the state ? Secular Class.

    Secular class trying to provide solutions! By minority appeasement and scrapping pota I guess.


  9. Gaurav

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

    absolutely. People forget that more than the Al Qaeda, its the IIF that matters.

  10. Atanu Dey:

    Excellent post there. Couldn’t have put it better. Sarcasm and ridicule if used well can be formidable weaponsin the war against int’l jihad. Besides, its pretty well known in theological circles that the devil cannot stand to be mocked.

    btw, the ‘sudhir’ who posted above isn’t me (not that that matters) though I don’t disagree all that much with his comments.

    Like someone pointed out on BR yesterday, aajkal apna ‘civil society’ ka reaction canbe summed up in one phrase “score kya hai?”. Then we move on for the next outrage etc.

  11. There is a clear link between anti-Muslim massacres by “Hindu nationalists” and apparent anti-Hindu bombings by Muslim organized crime/”terror” networks. This seems to be the pattern of the last fifteen years or so.

    I do not deny that the “reverse” form of communal violence – attacks on Hindus when they are in the minority – has occurred. However, this back-and-forth in India seems to have a pretty clear pattern. This is the chickens coming home to roost, sadly enough. “Protecting Hindus” is not actually the issue here – in undisputed Indian territory, the greater need seems to actually be protecting Muslims from Hindu mobs. How many people were massacred in Gujarat in 2003? We need some perspective here, please.

  12. Ranjeet,

    Maybe you should read history books, and the papers a bit more. If muslims needed protection from Hindu mobs in India, they’d not have been the increase in muslim population that u notice now.

    btw in pure numbers the Gujurat killings were almost in a 1:3 ratio(for a supposed pogrom)

  13. Ranjeet:

    The evidence-at-hand suggests that the attacks may well have been due to the LeT (or another jehadi group). Of course, no one should make the mistake of blaming the Indian Muslim community. Such polarization is wrong in itself; if more reason is needed, the goal of these attacks is obviously to foment communal hatred.

    However, your call for “..perspective..” is amusing, given the obviously skewed nature of your own ‘perspective’. Pray tell, why should one bracket the terrorism against Hindus in ‘disputed’ (your term, not mine) Indian territory? To me, J&K, say, is a part of India; as a pro-Indian Kashmiri Pandit my claim on J&K is no less than that of an urban secessionist Kashmiri Sunni. I look forward to a principled argument about why such bracketing is justified.

    I also look forward to argument about why attacks like the one on the mandir are not truly communal. Please do remember that argument by adjective (‘apparently (anti-Hindu)’, etc.) or by scare-quoting is not genuine argument.

    The sort of parsing you indulge in gives Indian ‘secularism’ its bad odor and makes those of us who respect the genuine secularism embodied in India’s founding hang our heads a bit. Even worse is your suggestion that it is the “…chickens coming home to roost…”.

    This sort of ‘logic’ drives murder and mayhem by fundamentalists on both sides. If, God forbid, there is some counter-reaction by Hindu fundies, will you shake your head ‘sadly’, and mutter cliches about ‘chickens coming home to roost’?

    By symmetry, you ought to do that. Will you do that? Have you ever done so? I think I already know your answer: I rather doubt you would. I strongly suspect you have never done that. Indeed, its unlikelihood is precisely why I suspect your inanity on this issue is not an honest attempt at explicating such atrocities. Rather, it amounts to a sly justification of such atrocities.

    Let me be clear on this issue: I don’t buy such ‘logic’. But since you do, it’s incumbent on you to apply such ‘logic’ evenhandedly, to all atrocities, whether anti-Muslim or anti-Hindu. Only then can you escape the suspicion that you are not attempting, on the sly, to justify such atrocities.

    May God save secularism (and India) from secularists of your ilk.


  14. Ranjeet,

    Chickens may come back to roost at both the homes.

    Its amazing how much convoluted some people’s thinking is. Don’t blame other if they get a you’r-so-scr–edup look on other people’s faces.
    Try deep breathing. Some fresh air can clear the mental blocks. I’m doing that too, may be it’ll help me understand where you are coming from.

  15. Pintu:

    Yeah, I was born in Srinagar–though I’m rather far from home now.


  16. Kumar,
    Belated Herath Mubarak. Great to see a fellow bata on this forum.
    I Grew up on exchange road. Schooled at Woodlands high.
    Now live on the American east coast. If you are close, would like to pass some info about an event to you.

  17. Pintu:

    Belated Herath Mubarak to you as well. I am not on the east coast, although I travel there occasionally to see family.


  18. I noticed the same thing about the quotes in the Somini Sengupta article. I thought at first I had misread it yesterday. Wonder what caused the change! I know a lot of people were outraged. Anyways, you have a great blog.

  19. Nitin,

    Sengupta’s pieces for the NYT are also picked up by the IHT, and other such papers. Discovered that when I read IHT mouthing almost the same bull as the NYT, and took a look at the author!

  20. Ranjeet,

    Why is it that Muslim terrorist attacks take place throughout the world, not just in India? Can’t Islam co-exist with others?

    Be more intellectually honest the next time rather than pour insult on injury.

  21. 1. This has nothing to do with religion.
    2. The bombings were caused by indian colonialism of muslim countries in the past.
    3. The state of India is occuping Palestinian land.
    4. The terrorists were poor.
    5. India out of Iraq.
    6. India out of Saudi Arabia
    7. MF Hussain published cartoons depicting the prophet.
    8. Gujarat Ethnic Cleansing.
    9. Hindu Nazis
    10. Racism!!
    11. Poverty.
    12. India not doing enough to appease the muslims.

  22. Ritun, Gaurav:

    15. It’s those horrible cartoons made by Hindus in Denmark to insult Islam.
    16. It’s Bush the Nazi did it to put the blame on the Religion of Peace just like he blew up the WTC on 9/11.
    17. It’s because Hindus are not properly behaving like Dhimmis that they are.
    18. India should have contributed more to Pakistan for earthquake relief instead of just $40,000,000.

  23. I take some umbrage to the statement that our secular class has failed to protect hindus. For two reasons. First, the more appropriate statement should have been “failed to protect Indians.” Why do we see the blasts as an attack on Hinduism? It is an attack on fabric of Indian-ness (whatever that may be) by attacking common people. Its a failure to protect citizens, not a failure to protect hindus. This fact needs to be reminded again and again, because it is so easy to miss it. The second reason is that I consider myself secular. The “forces of secularism” BS that Laloo-Mulayam-Leftists spout makes me cringe. Because what they practise isn’t secularism. For me, secularism is about keeping away my hindu identity when speaking about issues of governance and policy and security.

    I don’t agree with Atanu’s “Islam’s bloody borders” ideas. Not because I consider Islam to be a peaceful religion. But because I consider Muslims to be as much Indians as Hindus. Even if they have allegiance towards Pakistan (and no, supporting Pakistan in a cricket match does not constitute allegiance towards Pakistan).

    What we need is means to fight terrorism. Without torture. Without encounters. Without trouncing on basic freedom and human dignity.

    Not because terrorists deserve dignity.

    But because we deserve to live without fear, and one such fear is a fear of out-of-control authorities. We have seen or read about some innocents—I would call petty Muslim thieves innocent of gruesome crimes like these—being encountered.

    This is a wake up call, and not the first one. Revive POTA, increase security, take measures to combat threats from Pakistan or others. But at the same time, we need to urgently improve the judicial system, and bring in greater accountability in law enforcement. Because what we are facing is a hydra. Kill one head, and a hundred grow in its place.

  24. I am shouting at the top of my voice :THERE WAS NO BLAST, IT WAS AN ACCIDENT (err..two accidents).

    Dont you believe me, you hindu fundamentalist scums? You will, a few years down the line, when the report of some committee comes out.

    Till then, lets wait for the next accident to take place.

  25. “Why do we see the blasts as an attack on Hinduism?”

    Because the blasts were carried out in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi at a Hindu temple on the day of a major Hindu festival (Holi)!

    If a terrorist bombed Mecca on Id al-Adha would I would say that was an attack on muslims not on the fabric of arab society.

    I do agree with you about secularism and I lothe government involvement in religion as it tears the fabric of society specially when groups feel a sense of discrimination by the government. But let’s not mince words, this was an attack on Hindus.

    I don’t quite agree with the bloody borders hypothesis either. If you think Hindusim, Christianity, Buddhism etc have a peaceful past you are sorely mistaken. Many Hindu warlords adopted buddhism to try and shake off their reputation for brutality and become better suited for peacetime rule.

    The problem with Islam is their strict scriptualism and underdeveloped theology in comparison to other creeds.

    For example at a scriptual level Christianity is not all that different from Islam, the big difference I think is there has always been an active theological element in Christianity. Christian theologians have slowly reformed their religion over many years, and this eventually led to the enlightenment era and modern science.

    Hinduism has an extremely fragmented history that encompasses various religious beliefs, this has led to an extremely universalist ideas about religion. Often hindus don’t believe me when I tell them that this universalism is usually not reciprocated by other religions.

    For Sikhs, Jews, Parsi, Jains etc a sense of ethnic identity superscedes scriptual belief in many ways.

    Among Indian muslims you can see two extremes Shia Ishmailis who have a very developed theology vs Sunni Deobandis who are Quranic literalists. The former are often not regarded as being true muslims by the latter even though they are far more properous.

    Modern Quranic literalism is similar to the Hindutva, and Christian fundamentalism in the sense that they are all attempts to recreate a glorious past. They are flawed because they are actually erasing years of theological development in pursuit of an ideal that never really existed, they actually end up earasing history rather than recreating it’s glory.

  26. Regarding Islam having bloody borders (an observation originally made by VS Naipaul), it is not a matter of opinion; it is an objectively verifiable — and hence refutable — fact. Draw the bloody borders of Hinduism, for instance. Or that of Jainism, Sikhism, or Shintoism. And compare before concluding that all religions have bloody borders. Political correctness and dhimmitude run amuck.

    Niket, your PC/Dhimmitude has progressed sufficiently that you have now sunk to erecting a strawman and attacking it. Nowhere did I claim that the Muslims of India are not Indians. There is a way out: understand what dhimmitude is all about. Diagnosis is important if a cure has to be initiated. I recommend Dhimmiwatch.

    Ed: Portions of this comment have been edited out

  27. and no, supporting Pakistan in a cricket match does not constitute allegiance towards Pakistan

    Maybe not, but if the people rooting for Pakistan are Indian citizens who have never lived in Pakistan, I would consider it a little disturbing. At the least, it would suggest that on some level, their religious identity is given precedence over their national identity.

  28. Atanu
    Mainstream muslim belief is that the Quran is the word of God and not that of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) whose sayings are spread across various collections with varying degrees of authencity known as Hadith.
    So the verse you quoted from the Quran is what muslims believe God says and not the Prophet.It is fine with us if you do not believe this.Anyway that is not the point

    Muslim believe that God punishes people if they persist in evil.Thus the biblical stories of plagues of Egypt,the flood of Noah are also believed by muslims.Although my knowledge of hindu beliefs is rather sketchy I think this has some parallels in the Hindu beliefs.For instance Vishnu coming down in various Avatars to destroy injustice/evil etc.
    Atanu may I suggest you should also read what muslims understand of thier own religion.eg http://www.understanding-islam.com or are you suffering from Confirmation bias ?

  29. History,

    That is exactly the point.
    If you consider the surah Atanu quoted an injunction of God shoudln’t you act on it.


  30. History_Lover, funny how I am biased against those who actively seek my destruction because I don’t subscribe to their faith and funny how I am biased against a creed whose holy book instructs the faithful to kill me in exchange for infinite rewards.

    Since you have a good understanding of Islam, would you please click on over to Faithfreedom.org and explain Islam to them so that they can shut down the site and move on to something productive?


  31. Ed: Portions of this comment have been edited out
    Gaurav : I think you missed the point
    This is GOD talking to humanity warning them of consequences if they persist in evil.This is God taking Responsibility for punishment of evil and not us poor human beings.This is not taken as an injunction for us human beings.As I said Muslim belief is that God is the word of God and it is God himself who is addressing humanity in the Quran

  32. Nitin: are you asleep at the wheel 😉 – or do you enjoy having your readers scroll through 40 entropy-increasing message??!!
    Anyway healthy(?) debate never hurt anyone. Though putting right-wingers together always produces decent fireworks! atanu, gaurav, history_lover: thank you. Your debate is great education for me (for the most part).

  33. History_Lover:
    God seems to be quite an angry and hateful fellow.
    One would expect more form the creator of the universe. Maybe if he/she/it popped a couple of prozacs and washed it down with a nice glass of merlot. He/she/it would then stop being so fire and brimstone.
    Below is my [tad off tangent] favourite quote on religion by linus pauling.
    “All religions are not equal, some are much worse than others”

  34. Libertarian,

    I must clarify I do not possess any wings.

    I am a proud memeber of class mammalia genus homo, I should not be confused with class Sauropsida because of my political views.


    Ok although I am not a scholar on Islam what about some sura (and which I believe exists)which instructs believers to kill non believers.

    Do not take offense when I say that I find it troubling that religion means follwing whatever is laid down in a book, and not apply human judgement.
    I am a Hindu, but if some scriptures, for example Rig Veda were to instruct me to pour lead in the ears of Shudra, I will reject it because it conflicts with what I consider are more basic human values.


  35. Libertarian,

    🙂 I’m glad you asked. I’m awake. Indeed, I’ve been expunging/deleting some comments that violate the norms of debate on this blog. I decided against intervening earlier in order not to diminish the vein of witty sarcasm that was to be found in some of the earlier comments. However, The Acorn is not a forum to discuss matters of faith, interpretation of religious texts, or suchlike. Comments that fall foul of this rule are discouraged, and will be expunged soon.

    Note to readers: I’ve attempted to retain the crux of the arguments while deleting those details that while entirely relevant to the debate do create avenues for off-topic discussions into realms that are unsuitable for this platform.

  36. Atanu,
    I fail to see a strawman. I didn’t say that anyone here claims Indian Muslims to be any less Indian than us. I said that in our zeal to fight Islamic terrorism (terrorism carried in the name of Islam is Islamic terrorism), it is easy to forget that Indians, irrespective of their religion, deserve the same human rights as do anyone else in the country.

    Three people were encountered after the blasts. Did we seek proof from the law enforcement that they were guilty? The police said and we accepted that they were. That really is my problem.

    Aren’t you guys afraid that some day, the same arbitrary iron hand will come crashing down on your own skull? Aren’t you afraid that all the government needs to do to finish your life is to create a doubt that you may be a terrorist? And that doubt need not be a strong doubt either. Just an inkling of a doubt seems enough.

    And yes, I am a secular. You may call it Dhimmitude. I cringe at what Laloo, Mulayam, leftists and to some extent Congress does in the name of secularism. Pandering to minorities is as far away from my idea of secularism as Bush is from Arundhati Roy.

  37. Niket,

    Speaking for myself, The reaction will not be the same. And I’ll also try to find an answer to the problem, try to see who did it, why it was done, how it was done.

    In this particular instance, the finger of suspicion point to the Islamic fundamentalists (It may very well turn out to be someone else, hindu, christian, sikh,…buddhist for all its worth)

    I think the point people are trying to make is, why is it that when the question of cleaning up their particular drenches comes up, Islamists start tapping the Holy Quran and get away from their duty to their country, humanity and even their religion. While, When the majority (read Hindu) are the point of suspicion, no effort is spent to get even (according to the law).

    Why is it that no terrorist attack on the US has taken place after Sep-11, even though US has made enemies out of friends? In India, Why are no laws being put into place that are targeted specifically towards addressing the problem of terrorism? Everytime such laws are spoken of, the minorities think that they are being targetted. If such laws are not to be implemented, then why doesn’t those minority community leaders carry out reforms in their communities to prevent attacks from occurring in which people from their faiths might have a hand in?

    Either clean up yourself, or let the law do that for you. If you need help in cleaning it yourself, then ask. But please don’t try to hide it somewhere and pretend nothing is wrong.

    Will normal people be affected, Yes. Can I be affected, Yes. But should that mean I can have 10 people die because I didn’t wanted someone to be looking at me when I use the washroom? Will innocents be implicated? Yes. But that doesn’t mean innocents are not being implicated now.

    Its a war we’re fighting and trying to win, not a hockey match. I’ve seen more rough handling in a hockey match than what the law enforcement are allowed to do now.

  38. The reaction will not be the same
    I am not talking about reaction when someone is interrogated. I am not talking about reaction when someone’s movements are monitored or is spied on or frisked. Nor am I talking about reaction when someone is held in custody without a warrant for a night or two. What I am talking about is the reaction when someone is encountered. When someone is taken from his home with 206 bones and returns with 412.

    more rough handling in a hockey match
    Rough handling? You call daughter-in-law made to suck father-in-law’s penis “rough handling”?
    You call pouring acid into someone’s anus “rough handling”?
    Do you call mother and sister being paraded naked “rough handling”?
    (c.f. Suketu Mehta’s “Maximum city”)

    Why are no laws put into place [to address] the problem of terrorism?
    Exactly my question! I agree we need stronger laws. I don’t mind the authorities being given more powers, such as through POTA. I am asking mainly for accountability. I am asking for less of “*shrug* I am sorry, we didn’t know you were innocent” after breaking every bone in someone’s body.

    Why is it that no terrorist attack on the US has taken place after Sep-11
    Because they had balls to go into another country and bomb the sh*t out of them. We, on the other hand, pee in our pants when someone gets kidnapped.

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