Pune and after

And a question for Washington

Pune was attacked today, days after days after a top leader of the Lashkar-e-Taiba named Pune as a target city at a public rally the Pakistani authorities permitted him to address (linkthanks @offstumped). (And yet, a significant element of Maharashtra’s law enforcement machinery was not engaged in securing the state against a potential terrorist attack. It was engaged in securing the state against potential hooligan attacks. If there was ever a time to hold the Shiv Sena and its grotesque leadership to account, it is now.)

Despite the Lashkar-e-Taiba threat, it is too early to definitively attribute the attack to the Pakistani military-jihadi complex. But it is clear that the Pakistani military-jihadi complex has every reason to escalate tensions with India through the use of terrorism. Without the excuse of “tensions to the east”, Pakistan would have nothing left to explain to Washington its double-dealing on the taliban.

As an INI co-blogger said, New Delhi should ask the Obama administration just how committed Washington is to targeting the military-jihadi complex, because otherwise, what’s the point of talks and suchlike?

24 thoughts on “Pune and after”

  1. The point about misuse/ abuse of police forces to deal with artificial issues rather than to protect citizenry has to be made, so kudos. But as long as Bombay and other Maharashtra public tolerate the Thackeray clan and their antics, with SRK or someone else, they will have them. If they love their life, they have to be more engaged in the political and governance processes than their last election turnout suggests.

  2. Clearly this argument is hinged on the premise that Washington is interested in hitting the Pakistani jihadi-military complex to the east of Indus.

    The only way India can make sure Washington acquires an interest in targeting the PJM complex to the east of Indus is a small scale reenactment of Parakram.

  3. Firstly, I do not agree with what the Sena did wrt SRK.

    But how are they responsible? Even if the police was not covering the theatres, It is very likely that the police would have missed the bomb anyway. It’s not like they are actively patrolling the city.

  4. The Shiv Sena soaked up a lot of the state’s resources for public safety, disallowing the state from paying attention to real problems like Pakistani Terrorism. Granted, there is no guarantee that the Police would have stopped this terrorist attack if the Shiv Sena had not engaged in widespread public hooliganism. However, given the sparse state resources that are actually there for the job of policing, it should be a crime to distract the attention of the police in this manner.

    If the Shiv Sena wanted to assist the Pakistani Army in creating a terrorist attack in India, they could not have done a better job.

    There is no doubt in my mind that SS bigotry towards “Khan”, and their explicitly calling SRK fans as Pak lovers were also a factor in creating this terrorist attack close to Mumbai.

    If Bal Thackeray wants to look for a pak-lover, he should look at himself in the mirror because he just did the Pakistani army a great favour with all his MNIK antics.

    In that this, let us not forget the hooliganism of “Youth Congress” in Bangalore and pay some attention to “secular” hooligans of the Ruling INC that burnt 6 public service buses to protest against Pramod Muthalik’s views of Valentine’s day.

  5. I think two separate issues are conflated here. The Shiv Sena agitation is legitimate in its own context.

    This attack is more a kind of “resumption” after a dry interval of 14 months. Its more related to a debilitating Indian pacifism that will soon turn India into a popular slaughterhouse.

  6. So next time SRK makes another film and Shiv Sainiks go on another rampage, demand that all the police force should not be allocated to protecting the cinemas; that some of it should continue to look after the safety of citizens. Which brings us back to the focusing on priorities: The government of the day once again failed to protect citizens. Stop supplying excuses on its behalf.

  7. “If there was ever a time to hold the Shiv Sena and its grotesque leadership to account, it is now.”

    I think that’s dead-on, Nitin.

  8. The ability of our police to catch a bomb has never inspired confidence. There have been many many bombs that have gone off even when the police is on regular duty and they have done little to stop it.

    It’s not like a policeman would regularly visit the German bakery or even that a policeman would be patrolling around Koregaon park area at that time.

    Probably the only way to stop it would be from better intelligence inputs. And even that is not a foolproof method.

  9. An iconic location of a city was targeted again.
    The point is simple. The state police apparatus was mightily distracted. Just like last time.

  10. Let me echo Rishi’s point

    While reserving utter contempt for the ShIv Sena — who are more than hooligans, rather being a disturbing symptom of fascist tendencies bubbling just beneath our chaotic public space — I don’t see how this terrorist attack has much to do with the Shiv Sena

    Both are real threats that need to be confronted head-on asap, Not clear if these need to be conflated (although the political damage such conflation can do to Shiv Sena is mighty attractive!)

    If it’s true that David Headley had been near German Bakery and that the Union Government had warned the local authorities, then the recent remarks by LeT on Pune are very meaningful. How is it possible in these circumstances that a waiter at the Bakery was casually opening unclaimed packages rather than alerting authorities? This shows very little changes on the ground even if intelligence exists — surely target institutions should be trained to identify potential threats and have an action plan to deal with these. Absent this, no amount of intelligence and police coverage can prevent every attack

    Best regards

  11. While I will agree that the USA’s refusal to allow Indian access to Headley is more of an issue here than Shiv Sena’s hooliganism and wastage of sparse public resources.

    Indian Megacities have a pathetic level of policing due to various reasons including political interference on Police matter to influence matters relating to the politician’s pet criminal gangs. Otherwise, for example, how is it possible that Dawood was able to operate in Mumbai from Pakistan, and the police have largely been unable to take down the headless body of Dawood’s men in Mumbai.

    So Shiv Sena’s damage to the interests of public safety are direct in this manner, since there is absolutely no doubt that Shiv Sena’s antics on the release of MNIK distracted a significant amount of the state police force. This was especially true after the HM’s scathing view of the Maharashtra CM Chavan’s tender handling of Bal Thackray and his Shiv Sena. The Shiv Sena must be made to answer for this wastage of police time with their idiocy, and this is true regardless of whether or not Pakistan was involved in today’s Pune bombing.

  12. German Bakery was one place in whole wide India that should have been on the anti-terrorist radar. It was a extremely vulnerable and highly visible target. Chiddu is right. GB should have been secured post 26/11.

  13. Good piece. The Hindu article (on JuD rally) is a shocker; it’s a shame that most media ignored it because they were busy promoting a movie.

    The Shiv Sena does all of us grave injustice due to its methods of hooliganism – the underlying issue, unfortunately, got lost. Remember, it was on the same day that the JuD was threatening to kill the last Indian soldier that the GoI was announcing ‘talks’ with Pakistan! And for those who say that not everyone in Pakistan should be painted by a broad terror brush, true but see the Hindu article & photo. The JuD rally was attended by “traders from local markets and students from madrassas” and more… not just a few misguided fanatics.

    However much one might dislike Bush’s reaction to 911 and his actions thereafter, has there been a single major terror attack on US soil? Osama threatens and tries all he wants but the US has taken the battle to his territory. We are almost 8X of Pakistan in population and much larger in terms of GDP, yet, we have no impact on Pakistan. The most wanted terrorists, dons and druglords have sanctuary there, and we send dossiers to them. I suspect the Pakistani Ministers get their bhel-puri packed in all the paper we send their way.

    Kasab must be thinking he is the luckiest of the ten that came to Mumbai – the others were shot dead. He is still alive and being kept alive by his enemies, even 15 months later… what a life!

  14. I am plain bored. This will continue to happen. We should get on with out chores or else I will waste time thinking about this and loose my bread and butter too. Is this a typical middle-class apathy or have our netas driven us to this state? 😮

  15. @Venkat,
    You reflect a majority of the Indian voters – middle class or otherwise. I still remember all the hot headed statements after 11/26 from every one from Shoba De to the common man on the road. After a week, people went back to living their lives.

    India is a sitting duck for any type of terrorist attack – so i am not all that “perturbed “with the the “levels of escalation”. If our intelligence prevented any type of terrorist attack, i would be extremely surprised.

    If terrorism escalates, then so what ? We still have normal relations with a country that is sworn to our destruction and has no hesitation to act on its venomous intent as and when it is suitable to it.

    Indians have time and again shown that they have very little self respect and dignity. Our Government begging Pakistan for talks reveals the core of the slavish and pliant nature of an average Indian. “Sir, you slapped me hard, is your hand paining ?? Can i massage it ?”

    I suggest that GOI have some more rounds of talks after Feb 25 -that should do the trick.

  16. New Delhi should ask the Obama administration just how committed Washington is to targeting the military-jihadi complex, because otherwise, what’s the point of talks and suchlike?

    How much more pathetic can it get… do you people really think that Obama or any one else even believes in taking on the military jihadi complex ? What is the end game for the US here ?

    The US is all set to leave in 2011 and has basically accquiesced to Pakistan taking over Afghanistan once it leaves.

    I dont think that the American Govt should care more about Indian lives when Indian Govt and Indian people themselves dont. Indian citizens have shown time and again that we are expendable and we dont care about it.

  17. How soon will the “Spirit of Pune” be back ? How soon “things are turning normal” ? How soon will we see statements that “terrorism does not scare us” ?..Oh, what’s the point.

  18. I am surprised that whoever planted the bomb in GB expected to get away with it. You should have visited the place in order to understand what I mean.

  19. Nitin

    Here’s a cynical hypothesis about why it may be naive to expect the US to fight the Pakistani MJC on behalf of India. Both the Pak MJC and the US MIC have a common interest in keeping jihadism alive. What better way to do it than to keep directing drone attacks on the civilian populations in AfPak in the hunt for Taliban terrorists? Both can claim that they are fighting terrorists, while both benefit materially from the economic opportunities created by the so-called war on terror.

    Direct evidence to support such a hypothesis will be difficult to come by, but watch where the money and weapons flow. Has Kerry-Lugar made any difference? Meanwhile, Indian lives will continue to be lost as a result of this tragic impasse.

    Best regards

  20. Has Kerry-Lugar made any difference? Meanwhile, Indian lives will continue to be lost as a result of this tragic impasse.
    Good point Gautam. But shhhhhhhhhh……..the Kerry Lugar Bill was basically King Canute commanding the seas to stop flowing… the paki military jihadi complex is powerful for a reason… there is simply no other competing power center in a country that is based on Islamist supremacy and has an open and eternal hatred of the very concept of India.

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