The killing of a driver

In Ben Jonson’s play Volpone there is a character who inspects the contents of a match box for clues to bits of intelligence and information it might contain of a foreign country. The Intelligence Bureau of India has fortuitously given out to the world that it is assiduously doing the same in its pursuit of the most dangerous terrorist, after Osama bin Laden, who is also hiding in Pakistan.

The killing of the driver of Iqbal Kaskar was designed to locate where Dawood Ibrahim was hiding. The Intelligence Bureau used a middle man from Nagpada who gave a subcontract to a source outside Mumbai to kill the driver. As a fallout of Abbottabad assassination of Osma bin Laden this was quite expected. What was not expected was that the IB should be so foolhardy as to venture into such a tangle of terror in the heart of the underworld in Mumbai. The Mumbai edition of The Asian Age of May 19, 2011 made it a front page headline. It shows India in poor light. If “IB outsourced Kaskar firing” according to the paper, then IB could also have outsourced Karkare killing as well. Or, still better someone outsourced Karkare killing to IB among others.

It also shows how much our agencies are obsessed with terror of one kind rather than terror of all kinds which beset us. We also fail to differentiate ourselves from the Americans. We are opportunists and wanted to piggy ride the Yankees.

It revives the memory of the blunders of IB in regard to the security set up in Mumbai in November 2008, which precipitated the climax in the assassination of Hemant Karkare though the terrorist attack continued for two more days thereafter.

Hindustan Times (January 10, 2009) says that the mobile phone numbers used by the terrorists during 26/11 were available with the IB five days before the attack started. On November 21 the naval headquarters wrote and also spoke to Prabhakar Alok for more information. The Joint Director of IB did not reply. Of the 35 phones 3 were actively used to communicate with the handlers in Pakistan. In the first place the IB was in the know of more than what is made known. It knew that 32 phones were bought from Kolkata and 3 from Delhi. It should have been very seriously concerned but did not show any alarm at awareness of the urgency of the request or just ignored it.

Even if we cannot call it complicity, but, it can be inferred, nevertheless, that this facilitated the movement of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008.

As of now in the murder of the driver there is need for monitoring by a committee of the parliament as to the authenticity of the alleged involvement of the IB. Vice President  Hamid  Ansari also emphasized this in his Kao memorial lecture.
The murder of Arif Abu Baker Sayyed is clearly an act of terrorism. Unless proved otherwise it stands to reason that it was an act of terror committed by the Indian intelligence agency. It is also quite known to the world that IB has set up training camps in which criminals are trained to kill those whom the agency wants to bump off.

There is the recent history of 1993 bomb blasts witnesses who were killed in such a way. Scores of them met this fate. IB is back to its old hunt. But the moot question is whether it would serve the interest of the country when already judgment has been delivered and the guilty are sentenced varyingly. Even for the sake of argument suppose Dawood Ibrahim justifies flurry of activity, is India really going to execute a surgical strike? And, where is the don?

It is quite sobering to remember that India had almost gone to war with Pakistan when the Parliament was attacked in December 2001.

What kind of signal are we sending to our neighbouring countries and the world at large? Including in the list of names of the most wanted criminals like Dawood, Saeed we have also such names like Wazul Kamar Khan and Feroz Khan in the dossier we sent to Pakistan. Feroz is in a high security prison of Arthur road and Wazaul is out on bail and has been marking his presence at local police station in Mumbai.It is as absurd as the character in Samuel Beckette’s play Waiting for Godot watching for a foreign body in his hat and hitting it on the palm of the other hand again and again to see whether it falls down.

The underworld has a code of honouring each other’s family by not attacking a member of it. Therefore it was not Iqbal but the driver who was the target. So, it was not Chhota Rajan or Ravi Pujari who organized the attack. Then the others in the field are IB or middle men like Ubaid ur Rehman. Striking the hat again and again would end in reduction ad absurdum.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 June 2011 on page no. 5

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