Samjhuta Express blasts: Introspection needed
Syed Ali Mujtaba
The twin bomb blasts that killed 67 passengers in the Indo- Pak Samjhuta Express train on Sunday midnight once again exposed the vulnerability of the people in the country. It also exposed the callousness of the intelligence and the security forces that refuses to accept that they are a national burden. Once the contrary it has established the smartness of the terrorists outfits that they can strike anywhere in India according to their chosen date, time and place.
Samjhauta Express is the oldest train link between India and Pakistan since Partition in 1947. The bi-weekly train had resumed its operation since July 22, 1976, after a long haul of the acrimonious Indo-Pak relationship to give peace a chance. This friendship and goodwill train has been on the hit list of the militant groups but had withstood the test of time of militancy. However, it’s not so anymore, now it too has become the target of another episode of bomb blasts in the country.
For a change it’s for the first time that ‘Delhi Durbar’ has not raised the “foreign bogey” the usually practice, that’s routinely done minutes after such blasts. Conspicuous by silence, is also the “manta” of “Jaise –E-Mohmmad” and ‘Laksher – E- Taiba that our 24 hours news channels keep chanting minutes after such blasts.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was reportedly quick to announce that the perpetrators of the Samjutha Express train blasts will not go unpunished. Home Minister Shivraj Patil tried to pacify the tempers mostly building across the borders saying that the government is in the know of the culprits but not to divulge the details as it may hamper the investigation. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was more playing on to the gallery saying that the real culprits of the blast were those who oppose the India- Pak peace process.
As one many believe what suits one’s thoughts, the fact remains the target of the Samjutha express blast were overwhelmingly ‘Muslims.’ Normally, it is the Indian and Pakistan Muslims that travel back and forth on this train to meet their relatives separated across the border due to the Partition of India in 1947.
One is free to deduce from the profile of the target that who could be behind the blasts and what could be their motive. However, if we go by the government’s assessment then we have to accept that the blasts were the handiwork of the spoilers of peace.
The set argument is that the terrorists based in Pakistan are realizing that they would be the biggest losers in India- Pak peace process, swooned from across the border, killed few dozen people, no matter even if they belonged to their religion, and returned back to their safe heavens.
So there we go…there ends the matter... if we want to get them, we have cross the border and since hot pursuit is not our government’s policy, the case is solved and closed.
Samjutha blasts would remain another unresolved puzzle in the strings of blasts that our country has witnessed in the recent past. The Varanasi blast, the Delhi blasts, the Mumbai train blasts, and the Malegoan blasts, no conclusive evidence has been established either of the perpetrators or their motives.
The common thread in them is, they all were the work of the Muslim or Islamic terror groups that want to destabilize the country. At least that is what the government, the media and other mass communication sources want the entire country to believe.
Now who is the so-called Islamic terror groups operating in India? Even a child can say that they come in three varieties. Kashmiri outfits that have overt or covert support of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. The Pakistani terrorists groups that often breach the Indian security cordon. The homegrown Muslim terrorists, that have sprung up after Ayodhya related communal riots and Gujarat communal pogrom and have been accused of seeking help from either Pakistan or Bangladesh.
In the wake of Delhi and Varanisi blasts, the government had reportedly blamed the Pakistani and Bangladeshi the terrorists’ outfits for that crime. However, it never provided any clinching evidence of their involvement nor it has answered to anyone’s satisfaction as to who were behind these blasts and their motives.
Soon after the Mumbai train blasts, the government reportedly announced that its script this terror plot was written in Pakistan and was executed with the help of the Kashmiri militants and the Muslim youth of Mumbai. The national security advisor had reportedly said that it has evidence of Pakistani involvement but it is best known to him whether he has handed over them to Islamabad, the nation owes answers to it what has been its follow up?
The Malegoan blasts had taken place some days after the Mumbai train blasts and this again remains shrouded in mystery. In comparison to Mumbai train blasts where the target was overwhelmingly Hindus, the Malegoan blast target were Muslims as it occurred on a Muslim religious day and in a Muslim graveyard where no non-Muslim would set their foot. In spite of the logical deduction, the government blamed the Student Islamic Movement of India, a radical organization, to be behind the Malegoan blast.
Now coming to the Samjhuta Express blasts, what motives could be attributed to this blast. Do homegrown so-called Muslim terrorists have any stakes in derailing the Indo- Pak peace process? If not then it leaves ground for the Kashmiri and Pakistani variety of the terrorist to hatch this plot. Now if we ask had the motive been to sabotage the peace process, cant that be done so by attacking the non-Muslim targets? What additional mileage could such terrorists gain by choosing an all-Muslim target?
If no sufficient answer came be put forward, then it may compel to look at other elements that could be responsible for this blasts. The Nanded blasts have very well exposed evil designs of the Hindu radicals that have stepped into the business of terrorism in our country. Their role needs to be thoroughly scrutinized in Samjhuta express blasts. They have vested interest in derailing the Indo-Pak peace. If the motive was to take revenge for the earlier bomb blasts where the targets were Hindu, again their role become prominent. Wishing them away or just reinforcing the stereotypes would be closing our eyes to the realties that are taking shape among us.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai, India. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org