The tentacles of terrorism spreading in different parts of the country demand a fresh study and response. First thing that needs to be understood is that terrorism in the country is not area specific.
Those who had been spreading this theory need to look at what happened in Manipur on Saturday ( November 13), when Colonel Viplav Tripathi of Assam Rifles, his two family members, including his eight-year-old son Abeer, and four soldiers were killed in an ambush. by terrorists.
Every victim of terrorism is innocent, and everyone is to be mourned. But the killing of eight-year-old Abeer, travelling with her parents, is particularly heart wrenching.
It is a matter of honest and determined investigation that how this incident took place; whether the terrorists were able to do so because of their devilish skills , or there were weaknesses in the security protocol. These investigations should dig deeper than the cliched approach of blaming the intelligence failure or some other thing.
This is part of the overall pattern unfolding in various parts of the country. This is conventional way of doing things, but the investigators must move beyond, and find out what were the objectives beyond the immediate impact of the incident.
It was not an isolated incident. It was related to the overall scenario of terrorism taking shape in the country. Manipur and Jammu and Kashmir sit apart, geographically, at least by 3000 kms, but the acts of violence are acts of violence. These acts of terror shake the nation as much as the attacks by Naxals.
A single select killing in Kashmir also becomes part of the same national narrative that terrorists are active and they are adopting different techniques to spread fear and subvert the system. Their methodology needs to be looked more deeply than before.
Dots should be connected, and these should be marked in such a manner in which scale of acts of terror, whether it is as big as 9/11, or as small as a single killing, is measured with all the seriousness. Each terror act may be connected with other, and especially when these acts take place in the country, it should be taken as a matter of national concern.
Terrorists have changed their methods, too. They have increased the range of their weapons – Kalashnikovs continue to be a favourite brand with them, but pistols are equally deadly. The use of IEDs offer them safety to operate from varying degrees of distance. They can inflict casualties without being detected. The next level of weapon is publicity, which they have been aspiring for, and gaining, ever since terrorism made its deadly presence in various parts of the world. First, there were newspapers that carried, in their pages, horrors of terrorism; then came TV cameras, and now it is social media where terrorism spells its horrors within a fraction of second creating conditions for furthering their propaganda.
More deadly is the narrative of subversion that comes through fragmented civil society. Certain sections of civil society fall prey to designs of the anti-national forces. This serves as force-multiplier for the terrorists, and it is deadlier than the conventional weaponry with them. It is in this atmosphere where the terrorists thrive and flourish.
This serves two purposes for them; they are able to capture the mood of civil society, veer its members to a particular objective that sits at odds with the national interests. Secondly, whenever, action is taken against such elements, since they are not categorized as terrorists, the attention is focused on human rights.
How the civil society is manipulated to work against the nation’s interest were listed by NSA Ajit Doval in his speech at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad, last week, when he observed: “The new frontiers of war, which you call fourth-generation warfare, is the civil society. His thesis was that wars have ceased to become, what he called, an effective instrument for achieving political or military goals.
“They are too expensive or unaffordable , and at the same time, there is uncertainty about their outcome. But it is the civil society that can be subverted, suborned, divided, manipulated to hurt the interests of a nation”; and he reminded the IPS probationers: “You are there to see they stand fully protected.”
Ajit Doval, who has watched the national security affairs from very close quarters, knows the emerging trends of terrorism. That can be fought only with cooperation of the people. This is a critical factor. At the same time, it is also imperative that the conventional and unconventional means that are at work need to be checked to keep the nation’s interests secure.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.