Friday, July 6, 2007

Glasgow terror strike

“The PM resents labeling of terrorists on the basis of nationality” was the headline of Hindustan Times, dated 6th July 2007.

One fails to understand the rationale behind the Prime Minister’s telephone conversation with his British counterpart in the wake of the arrest of 2 terror suspects of Indian origin and expressing his resentment on the labeling of terrorists on the basis of nationality. He also went on to publicly empathize with the mother of one of suspects. It was imperative for the PM Dr. Manmohan Singh to have acted with tact and diplomacy. However, both tact and diplomacy seems to have deserted the PM. The PM would have been well advised against speaking through his hat. A statement that India was in close touch with the governments of UK and Australia and was observing the events closely would have sufficed.

The country and the government of the day should wake up to the reality that the Indian Muslim youth (residing outside India) have been targeted for recruitment for carrying out terror strikes outside India particularly in those places with sizable Asian population by international terrorist outfits like Al Qaeda and others. This paradigm shift in recruitment seems to have been caused because of the surveillance and monitoring of nationals of Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries by the intelligence agencies in the West.

The suspects who hail from Bangalore, India have been detained by the police in UK and Australia on the basis of concrete intelligence information and telephone intercepts linking them to the attack on Glasgow Airport and not on the basis of their nationality or religion. The interrogation of the family members of one of the suspects by officials of the Bangalore police lends credence to the claim of the police that indeed these suspects played an active role in the attack.

The PM said, “We have to look for solutions”. What kind of solutions is the PM referring to? Mr. PM, the persons who carried out the attack at Glasgow or for that matter the attacks on local trains in Mumbai last July are fanatics who have no regard for human life and property. The Indians who allegedly played the role had no grudge against the British. It was all for a “religious cause”. Mr. PM the only solution for fedayeens is to neutralize them by physical liquidation or jail sentences long enough to keep them away from civilization.

The PM seems to understand the trauma of being “labeled” but does he understand the trauma of the victims of terrorist acts? This emotion expressed by the PM may not go down well in India as well as outside. Let the law take its own course. Officers of the Indian consulate have been allowed to meet the suspects. They can monitor the case on a regular basis.

Is the PM sending the right message to his countrymen and the international community?