India: Terror alerts — questions galore

Once again an alert has been sounded in view of the danger of terrorist attacks all over the country, particularly in Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Bangalore and Goa. It has been stated in the alert issued by the Union home ministry that according to information received by secret agencies, the Pakistani terrorist organisation, Lashkar-e Toiyba, is planning terrorist attacks in India on a large scale during the celebrations of the New Year.

According to this “secret” information, teams of LeT terrorists have entered Mumbai and Ahmadabad and these terrorists can target the properties of Taj Group of Hotels (ToI, 27 Dec. 2010). Before this, according to Mumbai’s Urdu Times of 24 December, Mumbai’s Joint Police Commissioner Himanshu Roy and DCP Nisar Tamboli had stated in a press conference that a few days ago four dangerous terrorists of LeT namely Abdul Karim Abu Moosa, Noor Abu Ilahi, Walid Jinnah and Mahfooz Alam had already entered the city and that all these four terrorists were preparing to let loose bloody attacks. Himanshu Roy even issued a sketch of Walid Jinnah.

LeT terror India media newspaper clippings

Earlier also, after receiving the secret information of two terrorists Kalimuddin Khan and Hafiz Sharif’s entering Mumbai on the occasions of Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi, “high alert” was sounded across the entire Mumbai city. earlier, it was stated by “secret agencies”, that 13 alleged terrorists of Harkatul Jehad Al Islami (HuJI) and Jamat-e Islami Bangladesh, operating from Bangladesh in the country, had entered the city and that their main target was the American Consulate. It was also stated that these terrorists, after staying in Kolkata for 10 days, would start their operation and would finish their job before 15 August (ToI, 9 July 2010). Similarly, prior to this, another news said that during the past two weeks around 140 members of Al-Qaeda had entered India via the eastern coast using Sri Lanka’s fishing boats according to information reaching Assam police. Indian navy described this as a baseless news saying that it was impossible for such a large number of people to reach Indian shores through the boats of any foreign country, but Assam police insisted on its warning and furnished its details also that the terrorists had landed on the Gujarat-Maharashtra coast and thereafter had spread to different parts of the country and of these 20 had gone to Rajasthan, 14 to UP, 15/20 to Hyderabad, 12 to Maharashtra, 5 to Haryana/Delhi and the remaining 40-45 moved towards southern states and that many among them were killed in encounter in Jammu & Kashmir by the security forces. Security agencies were, however, doubtful about this news and other agencies did not confirm it (Homeland Security News - 4 May 2010).

Last year, there was a similar news about the entry of suicide bombers in the country according to which suicide bombers, resembling Pushtoons, who were trained by the Taliban, were sent to India by LeT and that they had taken up positions in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and different cities of Gujarat, that the main targets of these terrorists were the Bhabha Research Centre in Mumbai, Bombay Stock Exchange and Shiv Sena Bhavan (Mumbai), American Consulate and the port in Kolkata, RSS headquarters in Nagpur, Delhi’s National Defence College and some public places in Ahmadabad. These “secret” informations were reportedly provided to the Indian secret agencies by the FBI of America. After this information, the central government alerted Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi and Gujarat and instructions were issued for beefing up the security of Narendra Modi and Bal Thackeray (ToI, 15 Dec. 2009). from Dec. 2009 to Dec 2010, the number of terrorists entering the country, according to these alert notices, was 771. This figure was in addition to those in which the number of terrorists was not specified or in which the teams of terrorists were not mentioned. During this whole year not a single alleged terrorist was arrested and fortunately no big terrorist attack did also take place.

It has now become a fashion or rather a matter of routine to sound alerts on the basis of “secret information”. On the occasion of every festival, public programme, sport competitions, tour by any foreign dignitary or leader, Indo-Pak talks or national or international conferences etc, secret agencies get “information” about terrorist attacks in advance and an alert or even “high alert” is sounded in the whole country. It is not that such incidents take place in our country only but all these incidents are taking place all over the world. Every now and then America issues warnings to its citizens going to other countries to take all precautions or avoid going to such-and-such countries. Sometimes European countries, America or Australia also issue warnings of likely terrorist attacks in India, or secret agencies of foreign countries issue advisories or provide “important pieces of information” to security agencies of our country and a high alert is declared in the whole country as a result. America had issued travel advisories to its citizens in June, September, October, December 2009 and January, February and April 2010 that while going to India they should take all precautions because, according to secret information, terrorist attacks could take place in big cities of India. Such warnings and travel advisories are specially issued on the occasions of Republic Day, Independence Day, Diwali, Holi etc., though fortunately none of these warnings or alerts were found to be correct.

Taking a cue from the American agencies, European countries and their agencies also have started issuing such warnings. It is thus seen that this game or ‘pastime’ of terror alerts goes on regularly not only in our country but in the whole world. India is the biggest centre of such alerts as here not only Indian secret notices but also foreign secret agencies issue such alerts. We cannot comment on these alert notices because such alerts are issued by secret agencies after receiving information from special sources. However, many questions arise in our minds about such terror alerts: when the secret agencies had received all information about the planning of terror attacks, number of terrorists, their clothes, groups to which they belonged, their sketches, their stay at different places, duration of their stay etc, how come that not a single person out of the 771 or so “terrorists” was arrested? moreover, during the entire period after so many alerts, no major terrorist attack took place in the country. where did all the terrorists go or why did they keep silence?

After the declaration of alerts, which terrorist attack was foiled? Why the secret agencies did not get the secret information about attacks in which terrorists succeeded and caused huge loss of lives and properties? When almost every month alerts are announced and police and security agencies are always kept vigilant, why and how terrorists succeeded in their attacks at German Bakery at Pune in February and in Varanasi in December 2010? Similarly, there are contradictions in the secret informations of different agencies about terror alerts. Why is it so that when there is coordination among different agencies? Similarly, when America gets the information about Pakistan’s militant organisations’ plans of terror attacks on India, why doesn’t it get the information about terror attacks of these very organisations inside Pakistan? America has more influence and greater say in the affairs of Pakistan, than Pakistan government itself, then why it has failed in preventing terrorist attacks there? In the same way America has its foothold alongwith its allies in Afghanistan but there also Taliban’s attacks are taking place right under America’s nose as usual. why then it doesn’t get prior secret information about Taliban’s attacks? Though America is not present in India, yet it issues terror alerts or provides secret information to Indian government and secret agencies from time to time!. When it has secret information about the whole world, how terror attacks in America itself have succeeded? Whether answers to these questions are furnished or not, these questions themselves are sufficient to expose the other side of the picture. (Translated from Urdu)