Intentions behind the Hyderabad blasts

Why attack without provocation?

That the Hyderabad blasts occured because of the government’s failure to pursue intelligence leads is becoming increasingly clear (see these reports). But so far no one has attempted to analyse why they occured: what were the attackers’ intentions? No one, that is, other than Der alte.

Maverick discusses four possibilities, three of which have to do with the turmoil in Pakistan. First, pro-Musharraf elements may have attempted to provoke an Indian retaliation with a view to rally the warring civilian and military political formations around the general. Second, and in direct opposition to the first, anti-Musharraf elements may have calculated that an Indian retaliation is what they need in order to topple the dictator.

But it is the third possibility that is more interesting. Maverick argues that the attacks could have been a “sifting” strategy employed by an third power to discern how India plans to address the situation when the political crisis in Pakistan comes to a head. Indeed, the ‘external power’ may well be one of the factions fighting it out in Pakistan—a peek at India’s cards would be indispensable in the power struggle in Islamabad.

The fourth possibility has to do with India’s relations with the United States—that the attacks sought to deepen differences over foreign policy along communal lines. Not by Pakistan, but by other states stand to lose from closer ties between India and the United States.

Clearly, given the air of crisis in Pakistan it is imprudent for India to provide leverage for one or the other players in that country’s power struggle, not least because it’s hard to say who will use it to what effect. Broaching the topic may only lead to an exchange over the “need for evidence”. The international environment too has changed—the world takes allegations of Pakistani involvement at face value while Pakistan’s denials get an unsympathetic reception. So while there should be no stone unturned in tracing the roots and the perpetrators of this conspiracy, the approach towards Pakistan has to be more subtle. In any case, immediately laying the blame on the doors of Pakistan and Bangladesh—as Chief Minister Reddy did—may be politically expedient, but only gives them a chance to play victim.

17 thoughts on “Intentions behind the Hyderabad blasts”

  1. Phoenix,

    It’s highly likely to involve homegrown operatives—the scale is too large for a cell of foreigners to carry out. But 100% homegrown? From the intelligence that’s in the public domain—no way.

  2. If these blasts were to provoke India into deciding Mushy’s future, then why Hyderabad, a city far away from the seat of power, New Delhi?

    IMO these are targeted at our booming economy. Pakis just cant digest the fact that the BSE Sensex has raced past the Karachi 100 index. Communal riots once it starts in a city like Hyderabad, can easily get out of hand especially when vote-bank politics of the majority and the minority kinds are in vogue.

  3. Nitin,
    Don’t know if my question is absurd, but why this assumption that it was an Islamist terrorism attack? The Malegaon blast victims were mainly Muslims, the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad was similar and Hindus weren’t the only victims last Saturday!

  4. Venkatesh,
    Allow me to answer. It is not an assumption.It is a fact. Go and ask the govt and if u dont believe them then ask “Stratfor” a.k.a the shadow CIA.

  5. Hi Venkatesh

    Nice to see journalists blogging and that too not under pseudonymns.

    You might have played safely by being intelligently ambivalent but the unstated insinuation is on the possible involvement of Hindu groups in the blast(unless you had Maoist in mind)

    The practice of ‘communal counting’ of dead bodies is increasingly becoming the favourite pasttime of the Indian MSM .(No worries.All of you are in illustrious company.Shekhar Gupta was the trail blazer in this when he counted the dead bodies of Mumbai Train blast quite creatively -when he was writing for Newsweek).But what hold ominous portents is using the religius distribution of dead bodies as the basis for speculating the group that might have been behind the blast

    Looks like there is tacit ,underlying assumption in Media circles that terror groups won’t target co-religionists

  6. As much as we would like to point fingers and find a face who is behind the hurt , be it our inept politicos who can give a bhashan and take in loads of bribe but can’t do s**t otherwise, or our geopolitical neighbors squandering for power trying to derail any growth or progress – it is the face of common man’s greed – the attitude of the society. Let alone the blasts, in current day no one cares for form of life – let alone human life. What do you expect from a society where there is prevailing infanticide. The land of dharma now only believes in instant karma, if there is a benefit at the cost of fellow countryman’s life. There can be only one reason for this inhumane act – people have stopped being human. The very quality that separates us from other species is lost. Call me pessimist but the hopes of a peaceful society in our times is more a pipe dream…

  7. Venkatesh,

    As RS points out—these are not assumptions, but based on reports by rather respectable journalists citing police and intelligence sources. (Of course, there is a possibility that these may end up being wrong, but at this time these are still more credible than the alternatives—conspiracy theories of one kind or the other)

    But why do you presume that the role of Islamic terrorists can be ruled out because some, or even most of the victims were Muslims? There’s abundant evidence to prove that Islamic terrorism has claimed a large number of Muslim lives.

  8. I will suggest a much simpler motive behind the Hyderabad blasts. Even the terrorists and their families will have to be fed, clothed, treated, etc. And, compensations are for services rendered. More importantly the cells should be kept active and primed – use’m or lose’m. I think Malegaon, Mecca Masjid, and Lumbini Park blasts are preludes to something much bigger – just as the Delhi and Varanasi blasts were for the Mumbai blasts.

    I hate to sound callous, but India is a fertile ground for “connecting the dots”; unfortunately, the intelligence agencies, that are quite capable of doing the job, are blindfolded by a cynical political establishment.

    Venkatesh, do you have a count of Muslim victims of terror in New York, London, Madrid, Beslan, Nairobi, Riyadh, Amman, Kabul, Karachi, Dhaka, Bali…, too? Terrorism has no nationality, but it almost always has a religion!

  9. Thanks RS and Rational Fool for your comments…

    Prasanna – Yes I was mainly referring to a possible Hindu right-wing terrorism plot. As far as your other comments, I will only venture this much – of course, some of us in the MSM, as you put it, are aware that we are much too quick in jumping to conclusions! Would not like to state more on this, only because I want avoid further debate – and that’s because I’m still in the process of evaluating my own assumptions and viewpoints : )

    Nitin – thanks for the clarification. I do not assume that Islamist terrorism should be ruled because some of the victims were Muslims. My question perhaps stems from the fact that though I’ve been reading The Acorn for a while, I don’t know anything about who you are and where you draw your concise arguements from : ) For instance, I’ve often wondered why there isn’t an ‘about me’ link on the site!

  10. I don’t know about Nitin either, used to be curious early on but kind of mildly indifferent now.

    If I were to run a blog and introduce him to my readers, I’d say:

    “He revolutionized Indian current-affairs blogging with his National Interest chain of blogs, of which the flagship The Acorn is published by himself.”

    And that would be an understatement. I know of no other topical string of Indian blogs as successful as National Interest.

  11. “the scale is too large for a cell of foreigners”

    Kashmir, in the heyday, was blessed with several jehadi cells comprised entirely of foreigners [indeed, in 1990, one would hear the accented azans and notice those men walking around quite freely in certain parts of srinagar, particularly maisuma, yasin malik’s neighbourhood].

    once in kashmir, getting to and settling in hyderabad/mumbai/delhi is not a giant leap.

  12. Venkatesh,

    The big advantage for opinion blogs (such as this) is that journalists do all the leg work; all the information is out there on the internet; and relatively simple tools allow the seeker to find it. As for why there isn’t an ‘about me’ on this blog, well that’s simple, because this blog is not about me 🙂


    Thanks for your kind words.

  13. Nitin – I fully agree with Oldtimer. Would add Pragati to your accomplishments.

    As for the Hyderabad blasts. I doubt that they were timed precisely to a date. If intelligence sources were aware of RDX delivery five months ago, clearly no one knew what Musharraf’s situation would be like today. Nor could anybody have predicted the timing of 123 agreement turmoil back then.

    Rational Fool – your argument about keeping the terrorism machine well-oiled makes sense but I don’t agree with your ‘prelude-to-something-big’ idea. What could be bigger than 21 bombs in one day? It would surely beat anything that has happened thus far in our history.

  14. Nitin,

    Mavericks analysis is largely redundant. At the end of the day, it is Indians who are dying on the streets.

    The leaders who govern this country have made a faustian bargain. And citizens live the consequences. Much depends on the “next attack”. An assault that ruptures Indias pain threshold. After that, anything can happen.

    And is terrorism the greatest threat we face today or is it expansionist islam. Those who think it is terrorism are just barking up the wrong tree.

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