Monday, May 26, 2008

Buying peace with Jihadis -- B. Raman

Buying peace with jihadis

B Raman (Pioneer, 27 May 2008)

Rather than fight terrorists, the Pakistan Government is back to striking deals with them

Disturbing signals from Pakistan relating to the various deals being made with different jihadi outfits by the coalition Government headed by Mr Yousuf Raza Gilani should be a matter of great concern not only to India and the US, but also the international community. Among these signals are the indefinite adjournment of the hearing in the case relating to the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist of the Wall Street Journal at Karachi in January-February 2002.

In this case, the appeals filed by Omar Sheikh, the principal accused, against the death sentence awarded to him and by the state against the lenient sentences awarded to some other accused were being heard for the last more than five years. Even though the Anti-Terrorism Act of Pakistan lays down that all such appeals should be heard by the court on a day-to-day basis without any adjournment and disposed of in seven days, the case has been dragging on for over five years with frequent adjournments granted by the court under some pretext or the other. The state had not objected to these adjournments. Previously, the adjournments used to be for short periods at a time. Now, the hearing has been adjourned indefinitely without any objection being raised by the state prosecutor.

Reliable police sources in Sindh say that Omar Sheikh, at the request of the Gilani Government, is trying to persuade Jaish-e-Mohammad, headed by Maulana Masood Azhar, to agree to a ceasefire in the Swat Valley of the North-West Frontier Province. The JeM and the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), headed by Maulana Fazlullah, popularly known as FM radio mullah because of the FM radio station run by him, were operating jointly in the Valley against the Pakistani Army.

While the TNSM, which is a constituent of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), headed by Baitullah Mehsud, its Amir, has agreed to a ceasefire and reached a so-called peace agreement with the authorities of the NWFP, the JeM has refused to adhere to this agreement so far. The JeM is a member of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) and not of the TTP. The JeM and dissident elements from the TNSM, which are opposed to the peace agreement, blew up two girls schools and a gas pipeline, set fire to a house and attacked a police post at Nengolai near Mingora in the Swat Valley on May 21, 2008, killing a policeman. They also attacked Matta Police Station. These police sources say that Omar Sheikh has been taken to the Swat Valley to contact the JeM and the TNSM dissident elements and persuade them to accept the peace agreement.

One of the demands made by Baitullah and Fazlullah as a price for the peace agreement is that all those arrested during the commando raid in the Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July last year should be released and the criminal cases filed against them withdrawn. While the Gilani Government has not withdrawn the cases, it is no longer insisting on the quick disposal of the cases and has not been opposing bail applications moved on behalf of the accused. It is only a question of some weeks before all the accused, including Maulana Abdul Aziz, the principal accused, come out on bail and re-join the Masjid in their original positions. The Government has reportedly accepted the demand of Baitullah that the two madarsas -- one for boys and the other for girls -- attached to the Masjid should be allowed to function again without any hindrance.

As part of the peace agreement with the TNSM, the Government has not only agreed to enforce shari'ah in the entire Malakand Division of the NWFP, including the Swat Valley, but also to regularise the FM radio station operated by Fazlullah by granting formal permission. It has also agreed to grant similar permission to all other FM radio stations being run by mullahs and madarsas in the tribal belt, which are being used by the neo-Taliban for carrying on a vicious propaganda against the US and other NATO forces and against the Hamid Karzai Government in Kabul. Many of these radio stations have been repeatedly calling for the overthrow or assassination of Mr Karzai.

The Government has quietly withdrawn the orders issued by Gen Musharraf in the past for the registration of all madarsas as a condition for financial assistance to them by the Government. Similarly, all restrictions regarding the admission of foreign students have been withdrawn. The madarsas are once again being given financial assistance irrespective of whether they are registered or not. As part of the peace agreement with Fazlullah, the NWFP Government has agreed to give financial assistance for the establishment of an Islamic University in Imamdheri, the headquarters of the TNSM, to be run jointly by the Government and the TNSM.

The Government has agreed to return to the TNSM all its buildings and other real estate which had been occupied by the Army during the military operations against the TNSM.

Mr Tariq Azizuddin, Pakistan's Ambassador to Afghanistan, who was kidnapped by suspected neo-Taliban elements on February 11, was released on May 17. While the Gilani Government has been claiming that he was got released by the security forces during an operation and has denied any deal with the neo-Taliban, spokesmen of the TTP have asserted that in return for the release of the Ambassador, the Gilani Government has released Maulvi Obaidullah, former Defence Minister of the neo-Taliban and a close associate of Mulla Mohammed Omar, the Amir of the neo-Taliban, and 54 other members of the neo-Taliban, who were in different jails in the NWFP and Baluchistan. Local police sources say that in return for the release of the Ambassador, the Gilani Government has assured Mulla Omar that no further action would be taken against the neo-Taliban.

Mr Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), who used to demand a UN-sponsored investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, has toned down his demand. The police have also reportedly been told to go slow in the investigation into the case in which the principal accused is Baitullah Mehsud. Baitullah has been demanding the release of all his men arrested during the commando action in the Lal Masjid and subsequently. The Government has already conceded his demand, though a formal peace agreement is yet to be signed.

The Pakistani media has claimed that as part of the peace deals with Fazlullah and Baitullah, the Government has agreed to withdraw the Army from the Swat Valley and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and restore to the Frontier Corps the responsibility for the maintenance of law and order in the tribal belt. However, this has been strongly denied by the Government, which has been saying that there will be a re-location of the Army in the tribal belt, but not a withdrawal.

The restrictions on AQ Khan, the nuclear scientist, too, have been eased. While he continues to be under ostensible house arrest, he is allowed to visit friends and relatives, accompanied by security personnel.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hindutva raises the issue of terror: muslim cleric arrested for Jaipur terror blasts.

Hindutva raises the issue of terror: muslim cleric arrested for Jaipur terror blasts.

Hon'ble Min. of State, Prithviraj Chavan to note: Hindutva directly raises the issue of terror: how come a muslim cleric has been arrested by for Jaipur terror blasts? Modern Prithviraj, will you answer? Will you now call those who arrested the cleric as anti-terror Hindutva cops?

Being in PMO, have you ever read

It talks of islamist terror outside J&K and Northeast. What is Hindutva about this, Prithviraj? (See excerpt appended).


Jaipur blasts: Cops arrest Muslim cleric
26 May 2008, 0848 hrs IST,TIMESOFINDIA.COM

NEW DELHI: A top Muslim cleric has been arrested from Bharatpur in connection with the Jaipur blasts, a private news channel reported on Monday.

Mohammad Ilias was arrested by police two days ago and has been brought to Jaipur for interrogation. Ilias is the Shahar Qazi of Bharatpur.

Cops raided the Shehar Qazi's premises and seized the madrassa computer. The mobile phone of Illias' wife was also seized.

Serial blasts had rocked Jaipur on May 13, claiming 66 lives. A little known terror outfit - Indian Mujahideen - has claimed responsibility of the attack through an email.

Jaipur blasts suspect held in Delhi
22 May 2008, 0003 hrs IST,PTI

NEW DELHI: A man suspected to be involved in the Jaipur serial blasts, which killed over 60 people and injured more than 200, was arrested here late Wednesday, police said.

The militant, whose identity was not revealed, was nabbed from Chelmsford Road, the stretch leading to New Delhi Railway Station from Connaught Place, at around 8:30 pm.

The arrest by Delhi Police's Special Cell came following a tip off from intelligence agencies.

"There was an intelligence input that a militant is coming to Delhi," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Alok Kumar told reporters.

Kumar refused to provide the identity of the militant or where he came from.

"We have just started interrogating him. We cannot reveal everything now," he added.

The militant's arrest here comes in the backdrop of serial blasts in the Pink City last week.

Islamist Terrorism outside J&K and the Northeast

At least 270 people died in Islamist terrorist violence in locations outside J&K and the Northeast during 2006. The significant incidents included:

March 7: At least 21 civilians were killed and 62 others injured in three serial bomb explosions at a temple and railway station in Varanasi. Seven bombs were later defused, including four that had been planted on the Gowdolia-Dasashwamedh Ghat Road near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Hours after the blasts, a suspected LeT terrorist was shot dead during an encounter with the police in the Gosaiganj area on the outskirts of Lucknow city.

April 14: Two bombs exploded inside the Jama Masjid at Delhi injuring approximately 14 persons, including a woman and a girl.

June 1: Three suspected LeT terrorists were shot dead during an abortive attempt to storm the headquarters of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu organization, at Nagpur in Maharashtra.

July 11: At least 200 persons were killed and over 700 others injured in seven bomb blasts targeting the railway network in the city of Mumbai. First class compartments of local trains at Mira-Bayandhar, Jogeshwari, Mahim, Santacruz, Khar, Matunga and Borivli stations on the Western Railway were targeted.

September 8: Forty people killed and 65 sustain injuries in three bomb explosions at Malegaon town in the Nashik District of Maharashtra.

According to the MHA's Status Paper, the current strategy of Pakistan-based terrorist groups is to:

* Maintain a continuous flow of finances to sustain the terrorist networks in India

* Target vital installations and economic infrastructure in India

* Recruit and train local modules

* Attack soft targets like market places, public transport system, places of worship and congregation, etc.

* Provoke communal tensions to create a wedge between communities

* Supply hardware through land and sea routes

The Status Paper discloses that the LeT and JeM also use territory and elements in Bangladesh and Nepal for movement of terrorists and finances. Army chief J. J. Singh, on December 27, 2006, stated that "As terrorists are finding it hard to penetrate the fence and new anti-infiltration systems placed all along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and in Punjab… The areas bordering Nepal and Bangladesh are still porous and intelligence reports suggest that terrorists are trying to use them to infiltrate into India."

According to data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management, at least 81 Inter-Services Intelligence-Jihadi modules have been disrupted just over the years 2004-2006, leading to hundreds of arrests across India – outside Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast – in locations that extend from Uttaranchal in the North, to Andhra Pradesh in the South, and from Gujarat in the West to West Bengal in the East. These modules had been tasked to target security and vital installations, communication links, and commercial and industrial centres, as well as to provoke instability and disorder by circulating large quantities of counterfeit currency and by drug trafficking. The National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan had stated, on July 28, 2006, that Indian security and nuclear installations are under "very serious threat" from the LeT, which may be planning a "major assault".

Worse, terrorist attacks by Pakistan-backed groups have occurred in places as far as Delhi, Mumbai, Malegaon, and Varanasi in 2006. Terrorist attacks in places like Mumbai and Varanasi in 2006 and earlier at Bangalore (December 28, 2005) and New Delhi (October 29, 2005) are only the more visible evidence of a long-term war of attrition by Pakistani state agencies and their jihadi surrogates, intended to undermine India's political stability, by increasingly attacking its economic, scientific and technological strengths. The frequency, spread and, in some cases, intensity of these operations in other parts of the country has seen some escalation in the past years, as international pressure on Pakistan to end terrorism in J&K has diminished levels of 'deniable' engagement in that theatre, and as violence in J&K demonstrates a continuous secular decline since the events of September 11, 2001 in the US.

It is important to note, however, that despite occasional and inevitable terrorist 'successes', this relentless strategy – which has targeted virtually every concentration of Muslim populations in India for decades – has overwhelmingly failed to secure a base within the community, beyond a minuscule radical fringe. Further, the record of intelligence and security agency successes against such subversion and terror, although lacking the visibility and drama of a terrorist strike, is immensely greater than the record of the successes of this strategy.

Have you ever before seen this new definition of Hindutva? According to Prithvijar Chavan, Hindutva means raising the matter of terrorism.

Here is the evidence:

Question by Sheela Bhatt: In this election the BJP didn't raise Hindutva. Right?

Answer by Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan who was in charge of the Karnataka elections: They indirectly raised the Hindutva issue by raising the matter of terrorism! They tried to target a particular community alleging that they are responsible for terrorism. If you compare the record of the BJP and NDA government they have a pathetic record of tackling terrorism, still they kept on talking about the recent incidents. They had no other issue to talk about because their performance in the Karnataka government was pathetic so they kept talking about national issues in the assembly elections.

I think this comment by the 'Congress leader' Prithviraj Chavan takes the cake among all the intellectual gymnastics indulged in by columnists and political pundits. I was sick and tired of watching many TV channels and TV talk-show pundits, throughout the forenoon of 25 May 2008 as the election results started pouring in from 8 AM.

It is time for Sonia Gandhi to wind up her 10 Janpath residence and go into meditation in Orbassano to understand the nature of terror or even sending emissaries to meet LTTE operatives in Vellore jail and stop advising the politico-s about the communal politics which has become the UPA trademark.

It is a pity that the madam has such Congress pundits like Prithviraj Chavan, Hon'ble Minister of State (PMO) in PMO advising Hon'ble Manmohan. With such advisors, it ain't no wonder that UPA is leading a soft state, without any clue on methods of fighting terror. On the day the Foreign Minister visits Pakistan, a soldier gets killed in Jammu LOC and there was not even a whisper of a diplomatic note verbale to the Pakistan High Commissioner.

People like Prithviraj Chavan are to be complimented for recognizing the fact that it takes Hindutva to raise the issue of terrorism in the nation. Hurray, Hindutva.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Joint Command to fight terror. But Manmohan (aka Sonia substitute) can't be trusted.

Joint Command to fight terror. But Manmohan (aka Sonia substitute) can't be trusted.

The next terror attack could be from the sea
By Arun Kumar Singh (Deccan Chronicle, 19 May 2008)

Tuesday evening’s serial bomb blasts in Jaipur, in which over 60 people were killed, has demonstrated yet again how ill-equipped India is to handle the new complexities of terror warfare. A new command must be created to protect the nation.
Jaipur was the eleventh major terrorist strike on ‘soft’ targets in the past three years. The political leadership has stuttered out its usual statements about ‘resilience’ and ‘foreign hand’ ad nauseam, while the bureaucracy has predictably kept mum on what is a colossal failure of leadership and intelligence at both the Central and state levels. The Intelligence Bureau, in the meantime, has suggested that terrorists are planning seaborne attacks against the dozens of oil rigs, including production and support platforms, along both the coasts of India. This appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

An oil rig, like the proverbial iceberg, has a small portion visible above the surface — leaving the vulnerable parts beyond visibility. What cannot be seen are the supporting legs of the rigs, the labyrinth of pipelines with interconnecting control valves that ensure flow of crude oil from the rigs to the mainland or to single buoy moorings (SBMs), which, in turn, permit oil tankers to embark the same crude for transportation ashore. In some places, like the Gulf of Kutch, these SBMs are also used to enable incoming oil tankers to pump out their imported crude to refineries ashore. Supporting this gigantic effort is a large number of logistic ships (OSVs, or offshore support vessels), which provide food, handle personnel transfers (sometimes also done by helicopters), pollution control response, fire tender duties, etc.
The extreme vulnerability of the oil rigs was vividly displayed by the massive fire and total destruction of an oil production platform in Bombay High in July 2005 when an OSV accidentally collided with the rigs’ underwater pipeline. This resulted in a massive search and rescue operation by the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard and by civilian ships, followed by counter-pollution operations by the Coast Guard to prevent pollution along the Mumbai coastline. In addition to the financial loss, the nation had to face a massive drop in crude oil outflow from this offshore oilfield, located some 40 nautical miles off Mumbai port. This event will not have been missed by the new breed of maritime terrorists, who would also know that India has invested over Rs 1,60,000 crore in these rigs. There is an organisation to deal with offshore security threats to oil rigs, coastal refineries, coastal nuclear power plants and ports. The Coast Guard looks after peacetime security and is in regular touch with all stakeholders — the Navy, the port authorities, shipping, ONGC, Oil India and the intelligence agencies. Wartime threats are handled by the Navy.

In this era of ‘no-war, no-peace’, there is an ever-present threat to offshore and coastal installations. The threat from the sea can take various forms — trained ‘sea terrorists’ can attack by approaching the target in dhows or even submersibles, making the last mile in collapsible rubber boats, lay explosives in the most vulnerable parts and depart or carry out suicide attacks. Another alternative would be to bring an explosives-laden ship and collide it against the target, or sink it in the harbour approach to block the port. And, of course, terrorists can enter coastal targets by land and cover the last stretch, as in Israel, in microlite aircraft to get in.
In any such terror attack, the repercussions would be severe — economic, environmental and in sheer terms of shock. India’s economic prosperity lies in being completely secure at sea — 90 per cent of our trade, 70 per cent of our oil imports and 70 per cent of our indigenous oil and gas production comes from the sea.

The issue of modifying India’s national security-cum-intelligence apparatus to address new forms of warfare has been hammered to near-death. Little may have moved but the need for a completely new machinery to fight terrorism is becoming all the more relevant in everyday incidents as in Jaipur’s. We are simply not equipped to address terrorism.

There have been reports that the government is considering handing over the 2010 Commonwealth Games project to the Army keeping in view the failure of the bureaucracy and civil administration to deliver. The United States, in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, has been far more ruthless and successful in protecting its citizens. With Jaipur’s incident in focus, does it not look like it is time to hand over all anti-terrorist activities to three separate ‘empowered’ joint commands, which will include all elements of the military, paramilitary, police, intelligence, railways, ports, airports and any other agency that needs to be a part of the apparatus? These three commands can be headed by the Army, for land threats, the Navy for seaborne-coastal threats, and the Air Force to address aerial threats. There is also an urgent need to augment the force levels of the Navy and the Coast Guard. Each of these seagoing services should reach a strength of 200 ships, and each should double their aviation assets.

Laws to permit the Navy and Coast Guard to board and search suspicious ships need to be introduced at the earliest. The existing force levels — 75 ships and 45 aircraft for the Coast Guard; and 130 ships and about 200 aircraft for the Navy — are inadequate. Getting our counter-terror mechanism in place should take priority over time-worn intellectual debates. Also, at some point in the future, these joint commands could also be pressed into action to combat the Naxalite threat, which today spans 11 states. The protection of its citizens is the Centre’s primary duty. The buck stops there.

How seriously other nations take this threat is best exemplified by what I saw in the United States in 2005. All armed forces units were flying an additional flag — of a serpent with the inscription ‘Don’t Tread On Me’. This flag has been used by presidential proclamation only four times in 234 years. It was brought out during the wars that threatened the American nation — the War of Independence (1776-1781), the Civil War (1860-1865), the attack on Pearl Harbour (1942) and post 9/11 (2001).
India too faces this new form of warfare and its government cannot take the rather philosophical view that was once articulated by a television commentator, to my considerable amazement: ‘As everyone knows, there is no reality, but only points of view.’

Global terrorism is a hard reality, and it is here to stay, irrespective of individual perceptions and views. Dealing with this new form of asymmetric war will require the combined might and wisdom of all of India. We need not emulate the Americans by hoisting a second flag to remind our citizens (and leaders) that the nation is in a state of war. But we do need to get our act together, and quickly. The present form of asymmetric war being waged by international terrorists who serve no nation is, after all, too serious an issue to be left only to the politicians, bureaucrats and the overstretched intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces. Remember the old saying: ‘Steel fist in a velvet glove’? That is what we need.

Vice-Admiral Arun Kumar Singh retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam, in April 2007 next terror attack could be from the sea

BJP questions Manmohan's bona fide in fighting terror

PTI | New Delhi (Pioneer, 19 May 2008)

A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pitched for a federal crime agency, the BJP on Sunday questioned his commitment to fight terror and said a new agency would be of no use unless it is armed with a POTA-type stringent anti-terror law.

"Manmohan Singh's bonafides in the war against terror are suspect," senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said, while asking whether a federal agency under him to deal with terror crimes can really be trusted given his "track record" in the last four years.

"It is ironical that after being in prime ministerial office for four years the Prime Minister has finally woken up to the harsh and cruel reality that prevention and investigation of terrorism in India is on the verge of collapse," Jaitley said.

He said the repeal of POTA, not giving assent to similar anti-terror laws in BJP-ruled States, non-execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and "helping the accused being prosecuted under POTA for burning Sabarmati Express" raises a legitimate question whether a federal agency under Singh can really be trusted.

Jaitely asked, "does the Prime Minister's track record inspire confidence that he will implement his proposal for a federal agency against terror."

He also sought to know whether Singh will have the political courage to strengthen the content of India's anti-terrorist laws to make them more "terrorist-unfriendly".

Claiming that the Prime Minister and Congress had been opposing strong anti-terror law, he sought to know "will not the federal agency be helpless in investigating terrorist crimes if confessions of terrorists are inadmissible evidence and an easy bail is available to the terrorists under normal law".

Jaitley also sought to know what purpose would be achieved in merely changing the investigating agency, particularly when investigation and prevention of terrorism is to take place "under a law which is not terrorist-unfriendly".

He also accused the UPA Government of having a "scandalous record of having misled the CBI, an investigative agency of the Central Government for political purposes in the last four years."

"Systematically, cases against UPA leaders have been closed and the political opponents have been harassed by the CBI."

Jaitley accused the UPA Government of "deliberately" not giving Presidential assent to three BJP-ruled States - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat - to operationalise the laws against organised crimes, while such laws are operational in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh (both ruled by Congress) and Karnataka.

"The effect of this is going to be that cases relating to the Mumbai train blasts and the Malegaon blasts will be investigated under the MCOCA but when accused are arrested in relation to the Jaipur serial blasts, they will be investigated under the ordinary law where easy bails will be available and confessions of the terrorists will not be admissible evidence," he said.

"The crippling of the investigation in the Jaipur blasts is directly attributable to the political motivated withholding of Presidential assent by the UPA Government," Jaitley said.

The senior BJP leader also accused Manmohan Singh of using his "softness on terror for vote bank politics rather than for security considerations."

The BJP was willing to discuss the issue provided it involves not merely a change of the investigative agency but also the content of the law, he said.

"Our anti-terror laws will have to be made more effective and POTA will have to be re-introduced," he said.

Jaitley said the jurisdiction to legislate against terrorism is already with the Central Government and the constitutional validity of TADA was challenged before the Supreme Court on the ground that the law and order and public order are state subjects and the Centre cannot legislate with regard to the same.

"The Supreme Court has categorically held that the war against terrorism includes the war against sovereignty and defence of India and therefore the legislation against terror falls in the domain of the Central Government," he said.

Jaitley also said what prevented the Prime Minister in the last four years from acting in the matter remains an "obvious mystery" and that his government is not "serious in fighting terrorism".

"The Central Govern-ment has the legislative and Executive powers to introduce and to enact laws in this matter," he said.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jihadi terror victims: 3674 Indians (as of May 14, 2008 since Jan. 2004). Rulers are busy making money.

Jihadi terror victims: 3674 Indians (as of May 14, 2008 since Jan. 2004). Rulers are busy making money.

The UPA regime led by Sonia Gandhi and jaalra-ed by the Substitute Hon’ble PM Manmohan Singh consists of cuddlers of the merchants of death.

Media cries foul when there is a security breach for Sonia’s Karnataka election propaganda. Media keeps reckoning the count of victims of Jihadi terror, providing no comment on the role played by the cuddlers of the merchants of death.

Swapan is right. Of course, there is death of outrage. He adds: “India is confronted by home-grown, ideologically-driven terror. The Government doesn't want to admit it. Nor does it plan to act against it for fear of unsettling people who vote en bloc. It persists with its hypocrisy and double-speak on the cynical belief that the Kuffar-e-Hind is incapable of responding in a united way. ”

Swapan, the only unity of UPA is unity in staying in power and continuing to loot the nation’s treasury. Vote-bank? Aha, roll on to the Swiss bank. The list of account holders in Luxembourg LTG Group banks is yet to be called for by the Government; that list will be a revelation. The German Government has announced that it would share information on accounts held in the tax haven with any Government that wanted it.

This unity in skullduggery is a blot on Bharatam – that the people of Bharatam have allowed such a rogues’ gallery of chamcha-s to be in sattaa who do not care about securing the life and limb of citizens of the nation who have given to themselves a Constitution which has been reduced to a scrap of paper by the Belgian-honored lady who has contributed to making Belgium the third largest trading party of the country – after USA and UK. No wonder the Order of Leopold is perceived to be a glorious honour for the Italian-born prima donna.


Blast bags were made in China
16 May 2008, 0625 hrs IST , TNN

JAIPUR: Investigations have revealed that the bags used for the blasts carried brand name Boneno, and are of Chinese make. They are not available in local markets, and may have been brought from outside.

IG Pankaj Singh told TOI that the explosives were strapped to handle-bars. Meanwhile, the police released sketches of three more suspects late on Thursday based on descriptions given by owners and attendants of the cycle shops from where the bombers had bought the vehicles of death.

On Thursday, they managed to identify at least four other shops, and the sketches were prepared on the basis of descriptions from the shop employees who sold off the bikes.

That the bikes were bought from separate shops was confirmed by the fact that all of them carried locks of different make.

Singh said that the sketches were credible because the buyer in all the cases remained in the shop for almost an hour to get the lock installed giving the shop staff ample time to have a good look at his face.

In all five sketches released till now, the man shown is about 20-25 years old. The cops said that, going by the way they spoke, none of them seemed to be a native of Rajasthan. They all bought the bike without haggling.

Police sources also said that at least 5-6 bikes were sold on May 13, the day of the blast. While 3 of the cycles were of Avon make, 2 were Atlas. The remaining for bikes were all of separate make Hercules, Penny, Surya and Apollo. In the Boneno bags, the bomb parcel was hidden under newly bought underwears of a very popular brand. In one of the bicycles, it was wrapped in the April 4 edition of local newspaper Daily News.

The cops said that the ball bearings were of a "particularly damaging variety" and were placed in a "curve" in such a way that when the bomb exploded the shrapnel burst out ahead, and not up, causing maximum damage till close to 100 feet. That they were planted in congested bazars only added to their lethality.

Chronology of major bomb attacks in India
13 May 2008, 2353 hrs IST , AFP

NEW DELHI: The following is a list of recent major bomb blasts in India that police suspect were linked to sectarian groups:

May 13, 2008: At least 60 people killed and 150 wounded in what police said was a terror attack in the popular tourist city of Jaipur in Rajasthan.

November 23, 2007: At least 13 people were killed from serial blasts outside courts in three cities in Uttar Pradesh.

August 25, 2007: At least 43 people killed and more than 70 others injured as two bombs rock a crowded outdoor auditorium and a popular eatery in Hyderabad.

May 18, 2007: At least 10 killed and more than a dozen injured in blast at 17th century Mecca mosque in Hyderabad.

February 19, 2007: Sixty-eight people killed and dozens more injured after four explosions on board the Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express.

September 8, 2006: Thirty-eight people killed and more than 100 injured in three nearly simultaneous blasts, including one in a mosque, in the town of Malegaon in Maharashtra.

July 11, 2006: Seven bomb blasts in a period of 11 minutes on Mumbai's suburban trains. A total of 186 people were killed and more than 800 injured.

April 14, 2006: Fourteen people, including a woman and a girl, injured in two explosions at New Delhi's Jama Masjid, after Friday evening prayers.

March 7, 2006: Twenty-eight killed and 62 injured after three bombs rip through the holy city of Varanasi.

October 29, 2005: More than 60 people killed and nearly 200 injured when three bombs explode ahead of Diwali in New Delhi.

August 25, 2004: Six people die in two car bomb blasts in Mumbai.

March 13, 2003: Eleven people killed in a bomb attack aboard a commuter train in Mumbai.

September 24, 2002 : At least 31 people killed in a militant attack on a temple in Gujarat.

December 13, 2001: Fourteen people die, including five gunmen, in an attack on Parliament.

October 1, 2001: Forty people killed in a suicide attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.

Only zero tolerance can end terror

Swapan Dasgupta (Pioneer May 18, 2008)

The serial blasts in Jaipur on May 14 were apparently the 21st successful operation (outside Jammu & Kashmir) by radical Islamists against the people of India. The 70 or so people who died horrible deaths last Tuesday joined the 3,674 Indians who are known to have been killed by a galaxy of terrorists in the 50-month period from January 2004. The statistics, diligently collated by The Times of India, suggest that India is second only to Iraq in the number of people killed by terrorists. The "merchants of death" have never had it so good.

The story of Incredible India is truly remarkable. It would be difficult discovering too many societies where a Government tries to cover up its pathetic helplessness by projecting the organised killings of the aam aadmi --commuters on suburban trains, scientists attending seminars, housewives shopping for Diwali and devotees worshipping at temples -- as karma and cruel fate. In normal democratic societies, the existence of well-organised terror networks would have prompted outrage. In India, it has prompted a curious response: A blend of capitulation and denial.

The capitulation has been shamefully brazen. In trying to dispel the assertion that terrorists don't deserve human rights, the UPA Government has gone out of its way to assert that terror suspects shouldn't suffer any discrimination. The architect of the Coimbatore bomb blasts, for example, turned his prison cell into a massage parlour before the authorities engineered his acquittal. The convicted perpetrator of the attack on Parliament idles away his time in prison with the full knowledge that the Government lacks the anatomical wherewithal to carry out the punishment awarded to him by courts.

For liberal India -- UPA represents its most disfigured face -- the important thing about terror is to deny its existence as far as possible. It has become almost a ritual for the Centre to greet every jihadi orgy with the assertion that we must not be provoked into enacting strong anti-terrorist legislation. For the English-language TV channels, the so-called "spirit of Mumbai" or the tale of Jaipur's "resilience", is invariably contrasted with the savage response of Gujarat to the carnage in Godhra.

It's one thing to invoke the gritty, stiff upper-lip approach as a byword for quiet determination. It's another thing to believe, like the infamous Mohammed Shah, that Delhi is still a fair distance away, and declare an unending happy hour for terrorist marauders. To mindlessly repeat after every outrage that terrorists are "cowards" is to miss the point. The issue is not about the lack of personal integrity of the bombers. It's about why the Centre has been emasculated by the terrorists.

It can hardly be the case that even someone as vacuously inept as Home Minister Shivraj Patil approves these attacks on what the Indian Mujahedeen email called the Kuffar-e-Hind (infidels of India). Like the inflation monster which threatens to eat up the Congress electorally in Karnataka, terrorists have alienated the UPA Government from large chunks of urban India. Yet, why is the Congress hellbent on courting unpopularity by persisting with its appeasement of terror?

After every terrorist atrocity, every religious head worth his name has invariably denounced the terrorists and prayed earnestly for peace. A massive conference was organised in Deoband some months ago to inform the terrorists that killing innocent civilians is theologically unsound. Therefore, if electoral support is what the UPA is after -- a legitimate preoccupation in a democracy -- why isn't the Manmohan Singh Government hitting the terrorists hard, and where it hurts? Logically speaking, by adopting a robust anti-terror policy the Government could have clawed its way back on popularity charts.

Unfortunately, there is a striking mismatch between reality as projected by breathless TV anchors and the truth in real life. There has been mounting evidence to show that the bombers are not foreign disruptionists who merely "sneak" into India, carry out an operation and then disappear into their cubby holes in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The post-mortem of every terrorist outrage points to local networks of radical extremism that act as facilitators. The leadership of the Student's Islamic Movement (they have dispensed with the "India" suffix) isn't foreigners; they are people who can quite legitimately claim Indian passports.

India is confronted by home-grown, ideologically-driven terror. The Government doesn't want to admit it. Nor does it plan to act against it for fear of unsettling people who vote en bloc. It persists with its hypocrisy and double-speak on the cynical belief that the Kuffar-e-Hind is incapable of responding in a united way.

No wonder there is growing liberal indignation at Rajasthan Government's decision to deport illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. If people have entered India without valid papers, they deserve to be expelled -- whether Bangladesh likes it or not. The compulsion is greater if it is established that Bangladeshi ghettos have served as sanctuaries for HUJI and other terror groups. Yet, just days after the outrage there is liberal clamour to keep many corners of Rajasthan forever Bangladeshi.

An effective anti-terror policy can be built on a combination of effective policing and social deterrence. That India needs a dedicated federal counter-terrorism body is undeniable. It is heartening that even the Congress has come around to this position. However, efficient policing and accurate Intelligence have to be complemented by all-round vigilance. A zero tolerance policy on terrorism implies creating an environment that discourages local support to bombers. All deterrence is based on fear of recrimination. Anti-terror strategies in India are hamstrung because support networks of terror enjoy political patronage. Our cities will become safer once the bombers and facilitators realise that every crime will be met by active intolerance.