Terrorists Still On Prowl
India has been hit by a number of terror strikes for the last three decades. The numbers got very low after 2010, as Indian agencies have, to a large extent, succeeded in wiping out terrorists and terror modules. Even though more needs to be done. The serial blasts in Pune and arrest of three IM terrorists for executing it indicate that terrorists are still on the prowl and waiting for an opportunity to strike.
The arrest of three terrorists by Delhi Police is not only a wake-up call for central intelligence agencies but also for all state law enforcing agencies that terrorists are regrouping and waiting in the wings to create mayhem in the country. According to Delhi Police Commissioner, the three Indian Mujahideen terrorists had landed in the Capital with an intent to target busy markets during the upcoming festive season. Incidentally, Indian Mujahideen has emerged as the group most likely behind the terror strikes.
The Commissioner informed media that during the interrogation of Syed Zabiuddin alias Abu Jundal, one of the main accused in 26/11, leads had surfaced that some of the terror groups of Indian Mujahideen were planning to carry out more attacks. Commissioner termed the arrest of Asad Khan (33), Imran Khan (31) and Syed Feroze (38) as a major breakthrough and claimed that their plans to carry out strikes in Delhi and a temple in Bihar’s Bodhgaya during the Dussehra and Diwali festivals had been foiled. Police have also recovered some arms and ammunition from the arrested persons.
It is perturbing to note that despite having a number of intelligence and law enforcing agencies, India has neither been able to nab terror remnants nor restrict their movement. It is unbelievable that hardcore terrorists like Batkal brothers and their associates are moving freely from one state to another without getting noticed. It is a complete intelligence failure and shows that officials concerned lack professionalism and will to track them down. They totally fail to anticipate and prevent the attacks. Besides lack of will there is also professional rivalry among the officials over scoring brownie points. The agencies don’t share information with each other on terrorists for fear of missing credit. They need to learn from the US and Israeli agencies how to share vital information with sister agencies and prevent heinous incidents.
For curbing terrorism India needs a network centricity for better intelligence gathering and sharing. Moreover, there has to be speedy flow of intelligence and updated data for speedy decision based on the geographical location and a swift action by nearest security agencies. Moreover, India needs to maintain offensive counter espionage and counter terrorism capability.
One can imagine how much death and destruction these terrorists could have caused had they not been arrested in time. Not surprisingly, after every terror attack the Home Ministry immediately comes out with a statement saying it has shared information with local administration but they failed to act. Why there was no action by the concerned authorities is not its concern. It is worth pondering if the HM had inputs how come the terrorists strike at will anytime and anywhere? Well, HM becomes active only after the terror takes its toll. This has not been witnessed once but after every terror strike. Instead of being out there in the field, HM officials spend their time churning out ‘secret intelligence inputs’, which are apparently sent to everyone on their mailing list.
As a matter of fact it is not for the first time that Indian agencies have failed to nab the fleeing terrorists. The practice has been same earlier also. This fact has been corroborated by none other than the previous Army Chief. Gen Deepak Kapoor himself, while addressing a seminar on Network Centricity and National Security last year in New Delhi. He said that India had repeatedly allowed the perpetrators of terror attacks to get away. “The US has not allowed a second 9/11, Indonesia has not allowed a second Bali,” Kapoor said, adding that India had allowed those behind the “2001 Parliament attack, Delhi blasts and Mumbai terror attack” to get away.
In August 2006, Maloy Krishna Dhar, a former Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau, also revealed the reasons behind India’s intelligence failures. Dhar attributes India’s intelligence failure to government’s ill-preparedness to combat aggressive operations of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency, Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Forces Intelligence and Islamist tanzeems.
There are no two opinions that India is a soft state and doesn’t have the will to crush terrorism. Even where culprits are caught, they are not punished or are punished after a prolonged time, judgements are not executed for example Afzal Guru and Kasab. In India terrorists do strike on their own will and whim. As usual, there will be a probe, sketches will be issued, the culprits if caught put to jail and at the most neighbouring country will be blamed. Of course side by side talks will be held despite government’s stand that there will be no talks. Oaths will be taken to fight the menace. Unfortunately, this happens only in India!
By Sushil Vakil