Is causing a blast necessary for one to be a “terrorist”?

Abu Asim


Intelligence agencies are arresting people involved in bomb blasts which took place in different parts of the country and by these arrests the government wants to give the message that it won’t tolerate any kind of terrorism–saffron or green. But the question comes to mind: are only the detonators of bombs terrorists?

Languishing in jail, the perpetrators of Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Dargah blasts would be cursing their fate for being branded as terrorists. Not even in their wildest dreams they would have ever imagined that they would share cells with Islamist “militants”.

If they had any prior idea that they would be jailed for slyly detonating bombs (meant to malign Muslims for killing innocent people) they would have preferred rioting and killing, as usual for decades, rather than setting off bombs.

Had they been involved in instigating communal violence, they would have been walking free and dreaming of becoming chief ministers and even prime ministers of the country like their mentors who have been doing this for long. In fact, they had an impression that the cops who had been turning a blind eye to the overt acts of terrorism of their gurus, would not swing into action and nab them, which is sheer diversion from the India’s old tradition of policing. They should raise their voice of protest against such a blatant discrimination and change of course. If government can arrest them on charges of covert terrorism, why has it been shying away from putting the perpetrators of overt terrorism in jails? It is not ready even to call it an act of terrorism. While the objective of both the actions – bomb blasts and rioting – was to terrorize and weaken Muslims of the country. Therefore, they should not be made scapegoat since the same project of destruction has been continuing for decades and what they had done was only a part of the same old project on the direction of their masters. Why should they be responsible for a crime that involves the majority community? So, the government cannot hang them just for detonating bombs at religious places.

In the game of covert terrorism only a few people are usually involved but in the collective terrorism, apart from majority people, police and the whole government machinery too happily takes part in destruction and tearing down the weak fabric of communal harmony. People involved in covert terrorism only get the monies promised for executing the job but people involved in overt terrorism are not only rewarded for instigating violence in streets but also get the spoils of the looting and destruction. The pleasure they get in playing with the pride of respected people and seeing veiled women along with their relatives begging with folded hands to leave them undefiled, which the perpetrators of covert terrorism can only dream of. The perpetrator of covert terrorism simply vanishes from the scene in a fraction of a second while the victim of the overt terrorism during communal violence dies in installments. He becomes a walking ghost. With his own open eyes he sees the tearing down of a world he had built brick by brick over years of toil. He helplessly watches his establishments being destroyed, his loved ones being slaughtered and sisters and daughters being raped by trusted neighbours. To his horror, he sees that the people who had killed his loved ones and destroyed his life, giving speeches about non-violence and peace and also being voted to power by people as reward for their outstanding services to the nation. And he cannot do anything because his loss of dear ones, his loss of faith in justice and also in his fellow countrymen snatches away every reason for him to live. If anyone travels the length and breadth of the country, he will certainly find the traces of overt terrorism that has been wreaking havoc for a century. But strangely, all the perpetrators of plunder and destruction were never punished.

If the government is really sincere about stamping out the menace of terrorism, it should redefine the word terrorism and put both kinds of terrorism – overt as well as covert – in the same bracket as there are many culprits of overt terrorism walking free because of the limitation of the meaning of the word “terrorism” and because of this, people who should be tried for acts of terrorism are taking out ekta yatras and Bharat suraksha yatras to further spread the virus of hate and also to brazenly taunt the government of capitulating to the wishes of terrorists.

If it is serious in fighting terrorism, the government should arrest the terrorists of all hues, covert and overt, and prosecute them under TADA, POTA, UAPA, MOCOCA and whatsoever suitable Act there may be and award them befitting punishment the same way Afzal Guru and Ajmal Qasab are treated, otherwise the cancer of terrorism will continue to spread in our body politic.

The author is an Urdu journalist based in Hyderabad.