So what’s new?

As soft as…bananas

Terrorists have scaled up their attacks in Jammu & Kashmir, setting off car bombs and attacking Srinagar’s city centre. Terrorists in their hundreds, albeit of different persuasions, besieged a prison in Bihar, setting numerous criminals and comrades free, while executing their imprisoned political opponents.

In the first instance, jihadi terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan have decided that with the Indian army engaged in relief operations and the newly deployed Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) engaged in finding its feet, they have tactical space to reassert their capability to create terror. In the latter instance, ultra-Left terrorists have decided that due to the UPA government’s unwillingness to work out a coherent anti-Naxalite strategy, they too have tactical space to reassert their capability to establish a parallel administration in the remote and increasingly, not so remote, parts of India.

That neither jihadi terrorism nor the Maoist ‘rebellion’ can defeat the Indian democracy is cited as an excuse for not getting overly worked up about these flagrant challenges to the authority of the state. That the ‘peace process’ paying or about to pay ‘dividends’ was cited as the reason to replace the battle-hardened Border Security Force (BSF) with the relatively inexperienced CRPF. A Pakistan-based jihadi leader’s announcement was cited as sufficient reason for India to consider suspending counter-terrorist operations in Jammu & Kashmir; until the jihadis own bombs silenced these calls. And even after its shameful response to India’s offers to help after the quake, Pakistan has sensed that the idea of opening up points along the Line of Control has opened up an opportunity for it promote its age-old agenda on Kashmir.

On another continent, incidents like the Jehanabad jail-break would have qualified the country where it occurred to be accorded the status of a banana republic. The Maoists ostensible struggle against class and inequality belies the serious danger their actions pose to communal harmony. In the case of Bihar, the central government’s inability and apparent unwillingness to prevent or punish armed groups that challenge its authority is highly likely to manifest itself in the worsening of violence along caste lines. Successful management of communal conflict requires the state to elevate itself into the most impartial and most efficient actor among the many antagonists; and unless the Indian state acts quickly and comprehensively, the effects of the Jehanabad jailbreak will lead to more and wider bloodletting.

While their sheer audaciousness have made them newsworthy, the attacks in Srinagar and Jehanabad are, unfortunately, neither new nor surprising. The government downplayed the former out of consideration for its partner in the peace process, and downplayed the latter out of consideration for its own political survival. Neither of these considerations looks set to change. So what’s new?

10 thoughts on “So what’s new?”

  1. Pingback: DesiPundit
  2. Nitin,

    Unlike banana states who are week because of external powers,India is soft because of its institutional pacifism /fatalism


  3. More than anything else, that it happened during the time of elections when supposedly security is “tight”, is a warning in itself.

    BTW, have you noticed? There seems to be a trend of some of these incidents being reported to the local authorities by intelligence agencies.

    No one seems bothered enough to wonder if they were reported why were they not heeded to, or if they were reported at all.

  4. I doubt the non-reaction is fatalism or pacifism. The underequipped and underpaid local police and various security agencies fight everyday with terrorists both from within and without – they deserve a better explanation. It is politics and politicians that tie their hands. In AP, the new CM wanted to negotiate with naxalites although they almost assassinated his predecessor just few months prior (the media, ignoring this stupidity, haled it the great move; the commie The Hindu editorial gave naxalites “advantage (as in a game)” in negotiations!). And naxalites had all the fun and time to regroup (see Rakesh Sinha’s column on Nov 16’05 in IE on how naxalites are regrouping). In Bihar, it is caste politics, that Congress I continue to be very good at five decades running, that keeps the center from taking any action. And the ever present peace process with terror sponsors to please western leaders and media continues to take lives in J&K.

  5. Chandra,

    When I said fatalism/pacifism I was talking about Indian Citizens.
    Note that despite growing Naxal Menance since last year, public is by and large indifferent (if you exclude bloggers that is).
    I agree government is incompetent and police is ill-equipped,but if public was aggressive enough government will be compelled to take actions.


  6. Gaurav,

    You said it. The crux of India’s problems is not naxalites, terrorists, corruption, economic decisions, or even politics (as I argued before) but it is accountability. It is people holding (or not holding) their MPs and MLAs accountable. Sixty years after constitutional democracy, there seems to be no process that evolved to hold elected people accountable (beyond elections once every few years), even if people are interested in holding them accountable.

  7. Gaurav,

    THe public for most part is unaware and ignorant. We just need stronger leaders who are able to make the right tactical decisions and maintain a hardline.

    My opinion is that the up and coming generations will solve that problem, what with the amount of Indian students I meet outside of the country, Indian students abroad are more aware of whats going on in the country than students at home.

    Not to mention, we should have an intelligence service as “hardcore” than the Mossad, if not spread out enough. Take care of things at home and all that , you know.

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