It happened once again when a massive bomb of very high intensity exploded outside Gate number 5 of Delhi High Court on September 7, killing 13 people and causing injuries to more than 88.
As it has become customary in these kind of situations, leaders from different political parties came on different TV channels, discussed and debated the attack and hurled accusations and counter accusations at each other. The last terrorist attack in Delhi was also at the same place on May 25, 2011 when a bomb exploded in a car parked outside the court. The following is a list of terrorist attacks in Delhi since 1997 (courtesy NDTV).
May 25, 2011: Minor blast in a car parked outside Delhi High Court, no causalities
September 27, 2008: Three persons killed and 21 injured in a low-intensity blast at Mehrauli flowers market near Qutab Minar
September 13, 2008: At least 25 people killed and over 100 injured in five serial blasts within 45 minutes across Connaught place, Ghaffar market in Karol Bagh and M-Block market of Greater Kailash-I in south Delhi
April 14, 2006: At least 14 people were injured after two explosions at the courtyard of Jama Masjid in the walled city of Old Delhi
October 29, 2005: Over 59 people were killed and more than 100 injured, including some foreigners, in three explosions that rocked Sarojini Nagar and Paharganj markets and one in a bus in Govindpuri area of Delhi
May 22, 2005: One person was killed and 60 injured in serial blasts in two cinema halls in Delhi
June 18, 2000: Two persons, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed and about a dozen others injured in two powerful bomb blasts near the Red Fort in Delhi
July 26, 1998: High intensity explosion in a bus parked at Kashmiri Gate of Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) killed two and injured three persons
December 30, 1997: Four commuters killed and around 30 injured in a bomb explosion in a bus near Punjabi Bagh
November 30, 1997: Twin blasts in Red Fort area leave three killed and 70 injured
October 26, 1997: Twin bomb blasts in Karol Bagh market leave one dead and 34 injured
October 18, 1997: One person killed and 23 others injured in twin bomb blasts in Rani Bagh market
October 10, 1997: One killed, 16 injured in three bomb blasts at Shantivan, Kauria Pul and Kingsway Camp areas
October 1, 1997: Thirty people injured in two bomb explosions near a procession in the Sadar Bazar area
January 9, 1997: 50 injured in bomb blast opposite the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO
We should not ponder on how the terrorists attack us but we should make a very serious effort to analyse and dissect the reasons for these terrorist activities. As far as I am concerned, the reasons are very simple. We have not yet hanged either Afzal Guru, who was convicted of conspiracy in the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of India in 2004 or Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani Islamic terrorist who was involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. On 3 May 2010, an Indian court convicted him of murder, waging war on India, possessing explosives, and other charges. On 6 May 2010, the same trial court sentenced him to death on four counts and to a life sentence on five other counts. Kasab's death sentence was upheld by the Bombay High Court on 21 February 2011. Both these terrorists, after committing such heinous crimes are still in jail, supported by taxpayer's money.
Our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, commenting on the Delhi attacks said that it is a war, it is a cowardice act. Mr. Prime Minister, please do not state the obvious...we all know that...the country wants to know what are you going to do about it? These two hard core criminals have become an object of a political circus. The Congress party is not hanging them because their leadership feels that hanging a Muslim would become a detriment in their Muslim vote bank politics and their policy of appeasement. I feel that the Congress party is insulting and demeaning the level of intelligence of the Muslim community by this assumption. Why would any law abiding Muslim feel bad about hanging a terrorist? If the hanging gives any Muslim any heartaches, their loyalty to India is questionable. By the same token, BJP should also not demand their hanging keeping in mind the Hindu vote bank. These two should be hanged because simply they are terrorists and killers '“ nothing more, nothing less. Any attempt on their part to give this issue any other colour tantamounts to betraying the country. Terrorism has no religion '“ they are simply terrorists. Both the parties can play all the politics they want on different lines to garner votes but they should totally refrain from this issue. They should not get involved in political rhetoric and just respect the decision of the court.
These terrorists feel that India is a very soft target. They know that even if they are caught, they are not going to die. The Congress government would take good care of them, spend a lot of money and feed them Biryani for years. They do not have the element of fear which stops the criminals. We got to have speedy trial courts for these terrorists and hang them as soon as the judgment is confirmed. Even the most hard core criminals and terrorists fear death at one point and it is the job of our government to convey the message to them that if you attack us, you will be killed '“ plain and simple. The first step in this direction would be the hanging of Afzal Guru and Kasab. These terrorists are merchants of death. You don't discuss and negotiate with them over a cup of tea or coffee '“ you just eliminate them. They should get the message '“ loud and clear, that India has a zero tolerance for terrorist activities. If they come at us with a knife, we should go after them with a gun.
There has also been a lot of criticism regarding the steps taken by the government to secure the country. The most infamous is the installation of CCTVs at the Delhi High Court. It is almost impossible to believe that this process is stuck in bureaucratic wrangling for the last three years. I was talking to a senior officer of the Delhi police on Thursday after the blast and he said that the file for CCTVs is going from one place to another, the tender was opened and cancelled four times and it is basically lost in red tape. If the CCTVs were there, this tragedy could have been averted. The process was caught in procedural wrangling between Delhi government, PWD and Delhi Police, the project to install CCTVs at the high court perimeter was delayed by years. This is what prompted a committee of judges on Thursday to ask the Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL) to immediately install 49 cameras. Even though our system has become a mix of socialism and capitalism, there is more red tape in our bureaucracy than a red country.
All the political parties should sit down together and consider terrorism as their common enemy. This is the only way to handle this issue. There should be a consensus about the solution. They should think outside the box, have a macro perspective to mitigate this threat. We should totally stop talking to Pakistan on this issue. We all know that Pakistan is the epicenter of international terrorism. They talk to us with a straight face and also finance the terrorists against India. They are doing exactly the same thing to us what they did to US. They received billions of dollars in aid to fight terrorism from the US and they allowed Osama Bin Laden to live in the country. When their double talk was exposed, they, like a professional criminal, vehemently denied its knowledge.
We also saw how Rahul Gandhi and P Chidambaram were heckled when they went to see the injured at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. Public patience is running very thin and standing on very thin ice and the government should do something very fast to bring confidence and optimism in the psyche of the Indian public. Their rhetoric is not going to work, they have to be solid on substance. If they feel that they do not have the intellectual element to thwart terrorism, they should give turnkey projects to foreign companies who would come and install whatever is needed to make the Indian people feel safe. All the countries are not self sufficient in doing everything themselves and getting the services of another company is not a sin. If we can drink Coke and Pepsi and wear Ralph Lauren and Ray Ban, we can also live with a solid security system put in place by a foreign company which would make our life more peaceful and safe. Let us hope that our elected representatives would do a good job of tackling terrorism and we, the Indian public, would not have to look out for another Anna Hazare to deal with this issue. The issue of terrorism is as intense as the issue of corruption. Any ineptness on the part of our government to tackle terrorism would not only make us an object of ridicule, it would also bring the stock of India Inc. down in the global economy.