And why they are permitted to do so
Looking at press releases issued by the India’s home ministry since March 2006, Jagadish calculates that India has suffered a terrorist attack approximately once every six weeks. (Most of them involve Shivraj Patil condemning the attacks, not the the attackers.) And that’s not counting Naxalite attacks.
The need to fight these terrorists has crossed the chasm and is now an electoral issue. This should have been clear to the political establishment at least since August last year. Yet, the only significant successes have been in Gujarat. Now, it is abundantly clear that the Congress party believes that its deliberate go-easy approach to countering terrorism will play well to its ‘minority’ vote banks, and therefore also pay electoral dividends. While we are likely to see this myth being destroyed in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Jagadish offers another explanation for the chalta hai doctrine: “the terrorists will keep getting away with these attacks as long as they target civilians. The moment a politician is affected, that’s when the representatives will wake up and take action.”
Because of the practice of handing out ex gratia payments and other entitlements to the victims of terrorism, the political class manages to prevent public outcry from coalescing around interest groups consisting of the direct victims of terrorism. That inverts the incentive structures necessary to get the political class to commit itself to taking the fight to the terrorists. Atanu Dey’s solution may well be too radical to be implemented but linking “benefits”, perhaps taxpayer funded personal security cover for politicians, to performance indicators linked to terrorism is a good idea in itself.
It is long past the time to demand some accountability from India’s presumably accountable political leaders.
Tailpiece: GreatBong is wrong: the term mujra-hideen is better suited to describe those, like Shivraj Patil and Manmohan Singh, who do the tired old routine after the mujahideen have finished theirs.