People, peace and polity in peril

About sixty precious lives lost. Almost two hundred injured, some maimed for life. And BJP leader L K Advani has a miraculous escape as providence delayed his programme thereby saving him certain death. The sordid tale does not end there, as riots, arson, imputing take over and the city Kovai reels under an orgy of violence for the umpteenth time in the last few months. And when the police raided a terrorist den today six suspected terrorists blew themselves up while eight were arrested, and of course, a huge cache of arms and explosive been seized. Apart from immense death toll of innocent citizens, what really scares one is the nature of terrorism in all its violent dimensions that has come to stay in Tamilnadu. Some worthies talked of a bomb culture, a couple of years ago. With human bombs, car bombs, remote controlled explosives et al, we now seem to be living in a bomb civilisation.

There has been no dearth of warnings from several quarters on the possibility of violence being instigated and let loose by forces inimical to the integrity of the nation. The talk of Pakistan’s ISI infiltration into Tamilnadu has been in the air for quite some time now and the BJP had even submitted detailed reports to the government on the nature of the threat. Besides, frequent bomb blasts and hauls of dangerous weapons including explosives also lent credence to such reports and allegations by the political parties and the press. The serial blasts on trains on 6 December was a grim pointer to the professional skill and timing with which terrorists have come to operate in the State. It was also an indication of the network the terrorists have built up, right under the nose of the police. The blast near Thanjavur last week that killed four persons who were allegedly involved in handling explosives, once again brought to light the possibility of poll-related violence and the arms haul near Chennai a day later came as confirmation of such apprehensions. But despite all these overwhelming evidence, the Kovai death dance has taken place. Obviously, the police intelligence has been anything but intelligent. And of course, there is the question of motives. The authorities cannot truly claim that they were taken by surprise and were unaware of the existence or the designs of the terrorists. That there has been a dangerous callousness and disregard for the security concerns and the fact that such an attitude flowed from the top is irrefutable. To put it simply, the government, the politicians at the helm, the police department starting from the top to bottom did not act, and more importantly did not want to act.

 Such a sweeping condemnation is not wholly without basis. The authorities were certainly in the know of the activities and the intents of the terrorist groups operating in the State and were also familiar with their hideouts and methods of operation. Above all, the identity of the persons and organisations behind such activities were also no secret to the Government. This is quite apparent from the fact that the government wasted no time in banning two outfits and also raiding their hideouts and even seizing arms and explosives from the residence of one of its leaders. Now the point is, if the government knew so much and could act with so much precision and confidence, after the event, could it not have done so earlier? Could not have all this blood-letting been avoided if the government had been bold enough and willing enough to have declared war on these elements and apprehended them, that too when the authorities had all the information and resources at their command?

Well as it happened, it would have been futile to have had such expectations from this government. Those at the top are masters in the art of deceptive politics and misleading rhetoric. They could talk you into anything and are even capable of making you believe that the sun actually rises in the west.

So they would tell you that if such and such a party were to come to power a river of blood would inundate the nation. The terrorists would promptly take the cue and would seek to preempt such an eventuality by letting loose their own acts of blood-letting. These rational leaders would have no compunction about raising the bogey of fundamentalism by a majority even as the real fundamentalist forces go about making bombs and enlarging their arsenal to strike at will. The ruling party-owned ‘unofficial gazette on satellite’ would also not hesitate to beam the preachings and proclamations of such elements in the name of press freedom while at the same time it will seek to tell the people that its political opponents were their real enemies. They would not feel shy to flaunt press and video clippings of the Ayodhya outrage to attract a specific group but would not care to think of the incitement and pretext it would offer to the militant elements within that group to resort to violence. Such diversionary talk and dangerous indulgences have already cost the nation heavy in terms of security.

The present free run enjoyed by the ‘real` fundamentalists outfits and their ability to strike at will causing enormous damage to life and property, is reminiscent of the heydays of the LTTE, under the same regime eight years back. Even in its present avatar, the DMK government has been keen more on granting amnesty to forest brigand Veerappan and to bring him into the mainstream than nabbing him. And that brigand still roams about scotfree, kidnapping and killing at will, thereby holding the civilisation to ransom. Apparently, there is something about the DMK regimes that emboldens and enables criminal and militant elements to feel comfortable or go unchecked. And this is because of the party leaders’ steadfast refusal to differentiate between the nation’s enemies and their own enemies and their failure to relate their ideologies, whatever they are, and the nation’s interests.

All said, we are once again witness to a government apathy which in the past had rendered our State defenceless to the machinations of anti-nationals. The CM has talked of a foreign hand, in his post-haste interview, but there is no knowing if he had woken upto to his government’s folly of, once again, being soft to known anti-national elements. But the fact that the Army had to be called in for the second time in a few months, reveals that his government is no longer in a position to either govern or offer protection to the lives of the people. Advani would surely stand testimony to this fact. And he is unlikely to forget it if his party comes to power.

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Jawahar T R