Eliminate Terrorism, before it eliminates us

At present, it is neither the work stress, nor the social conflicts, nor is the financial crisis that is haunting every person’s mind. The relevant question that remains unanswered is “Are we really safe?”

There is an old saying “One man willing to throw his life away is enough to terrorize thousands”. Almost everyday we come across news reports related to serial blasts, or suicide bombers in some part of the world. To an average person, the goals and actions of the terrorists may seem to be obscure and ridiculous, but no one is actually sure about their motives. Who are they? Where do they come from? Who gives them the license to take the lives of innocent people in the name of religion? In most cases, they are either supported by some rogue nation, or a political faction, like the Taliban hosting bin Laden. The emails sent by the Indian Mujahidin to the media organizations reveal that the blasts were their revenge for the riots in Gujarat and the injustice done to their Muslim brothers in Kashmir. One cannot deny that the demolition of the Babari Masjid and the land-allotment issue in Kashmir might have been dealt with insensitivity, but is resorting to bloodshed the best solution? They fail to realize that the Hindus suffered equally when the Sabarmati Express in Godhra was set on fire burning alive almost 59 of its passengers, and when the Kashmiri Pandits were made to flee from their land, else they would be killed. For those who are of the opinion that imparting proper education can help eradicating this menace, the involvement of students of the famous Sikkim-Manipal University and Jamia University in the September 13 blasts is an eye opener to the fact that at present, the so-called sophisticated and educated people are also choosing terrorism as a means to propagate their religion.

The emergence of terrorism has challenged the current security environment across the globe. If the catastrophic attacks of 9/11 could engulf the United States, which is among the most powerful nations of the world, the Indian cities of Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi, and recently the Pakistani capital Islamabad were quite susceptible to become the targets of the terrorist attacks. Earlier, they were only the densely populated or the well-known cities that were witnessing terrorist activities, but at present, even small towns, which according to everyone have one in a billion chance of undergoing such attacks, are becoming vulnerable to the terrorist actions. Almost a week ago, I was discussing with my friends the benefits of studying in a small town like Manipal. We all agreed to the fact that we are safe from becoming victims to the bomb- blasts and nothing of this sort could take place here, since not many people know about this town. But to our horror, what followed was the news of the Delhi Police arriving with the alleged terrorist Mohammed Saif, to catch hold of a terrorist staying in a hotel in Manipal! Referring to the news reports, it is assumed that the suspect was involved in the Delhi serial blasts. Whether the reports are true or not still remains unconfirmed, but they were extremely successful in creating a severe panic among the students. One after another, news stories of this University town which is a preferred destination for more than 14,000 students from over 50 countries, becoming the next target of the serial blasts appeared in the newspapers and on channels. The SMS containing rumours and warnings to avoid going to crowded places and the Central Library were spreading like an epidemic. As if all this wasn’t enough to disrupt the peace among the students, there were fake news of bomb plantation in the Chemical and E&C Departments of the engineering college. The rumours went to such an extent that a bomb-disposal squad was called, only to find out that the news was created to get the examination, which happened to be on that particular day, cancelled. While the discovery of the explosives-filled bag at Kolkata railway station is an evidence for the vigilance among the citizens, the reports about Manipal becoming target of terrorist attacks prove that a great number of people have gone numb on the menace being created by the non-state actors, and seem to be considering it another issue to gossip about.

The foremost duty of every citizen in the fight against terrorism is not to panic over the hearsay. The much acclaimed award-winning movie A Mighty Heart, based on the murder of the Wall Street Journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan has a lesson for each one of us to learn. Even after losing her husband, Mariane Pearl (his widow) shows tremendous courage, giving a thought provoking message to the viewers, ‘The aim of the terrorists is to terrorize. If we do not get scared, they will fail in their motives”. The 2006 Mumbai serial blasts shook the whole country, but the local trains were again flooded with the Mumbai population the next day. The whole nation wept when the blasts in the capital city took place on September 13, but almost a week after the massacre, Delhiites were back to the markets and on streets. The pain still remains in the heart of every Indian, but with the courage and willingness to fight against terrorism, such anti-national elements with intentions to ‘Stop the heartbeat of the country’ will be overthrown successfully by the countrymen.

Kanika Bedi

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