Ishrat and the Ahmedabad police

Lashkar-e-Taiba claims its own

Initial reaction from the lofty-softies was that the Gujarat police had killed an innocent Muslim girl in a fake encounter. As more facts started revealing that Ishrat was not the goody-goody girl next door after all, the lofty-softy media reluctantly accepted that she was in with the terrorists after all, but the trigger-happy Gujarat police had killed four terrorists before they had actually committed any act of terrorism. That view is both perverse and dishonest.

Tackling terrorism is not quite like tackling ordinary crime. The social costs of preventing an act of terrorism are much lower than the social costs of suffering an act of terrorism and subsequently bringing the perpetrators to justice. After the carnage of the Bombay bomb blasts, Dawood Ibrahim continues to live it up in Karachi, while Abu Salem continues to evade justice taking advantage of Europe’s version of lofty-softiness.

There could be an ulterior motive in the Lashkar-e-Taiba claiming Ishrat Jahan as one of its own; but there is other evidence supporting its claim. In the end, Ishrat’s involvement is a wake-up call to the media and the security establishment. It certainly does not indicate that Indian Muslims have suddenly signed up for the bin Laden brigade; but that fundamentalism – both of the Modi/Togadia and the Lashkar-e-Taiba school – has pushed a number of people over the edge. That needs to be understood, confronted and exorcised.

If India’s media continues to be predictably prejudiced, Gujarat may become the next victim of cross-border terrorism. If that happens, blame must be squarely laid on the media and the politicians who allowed it to happen, while Pakistan only took advantage of another of India’s self-created Achilles heels.

Update: The Hindustan Times takes the predictable line, suggesting that even if Ishrat was a terrorist, the Gujarat police should have arrested the terrorists. How does it know that they did’nt try to do so?