Serial bombs fail to shake popular resolve, yet political consensus to fight terror elude
In the 16 serial blasts that rocked Ahmedabad city on Saturday, 49 lives have been lost so far. On Friday, nine explosions in Bangalore in the afternoon had killed two, and injured quite a few. With these two latest series of bombs in public places, we have had 11 serial bomb attacks in different Indian cities, beginning with one in Delhi in October 2005.
While the tragedy of these attacks have failed to shake the popular resolve not to be provoked, the political consensus necessary to fight the perpetrators of terrors have failed to crystalise so far.
While the deaths and destruction from each of these tragedies have varied, there is a common thread. From the nature of these blasts, it is clear that the effort has been not just to cause death and destruction, but primarily to cause panic, and provoke a wider flare up among different sections of society, particularly the Hindus and Muslims. But the common man on the street seems to have risen to this challenge in a spectacular manner. There has not been any general breakdown of law and order, and no reports of riots or retaliatory attacks on any community have broken out in the aftermath of these serial blasts.
The frustrations of the perpetrators could be best seen in their attempt to place their explosives in or around Mosques (Malegaon, Hyderabad, Ajmer) and in temples or around Hindu festivals (Ajmer, Delhi and Jaipur), in the desperate hope of provoking a wider reaction. The cowards behind these heinous attackers have failed miserably in their basic objectives of causing chaos and social breakdown, so far.
Unfortunately, the intelligence agencies have failed to get any information about these attacks, and the police investigation have failed in virtually each of these instances, to identify and apprehend the perpetrators, and prosecute them in courts of law.
The question, therefore is, will the political leadership and investigative agencies will rise to this challenge, rather than shirking their basic responsibility to protect life, liberty and property or engaging in political rhetoric or perpetuating the blame game, and meet the expectations of the public who have so far done everything in their capacity to demonstrate their capacity to absorb the shock of these blasts, and resolve not to fall for the provocation.
Chronology of serial blasts in India
PTI on NDTV, 26 July 2008
- 26 July 2008: Serial blasts in Ahmedabad killing at least 49 people and injuring more than 100.
- 25 July 2008: Nine explosions in Bangalore create terror killing two people and injuring twelve.
- 13 May 2008: Eight serial blasts rock Jaipur in a span of 12 minutes leaving 65 dead and over 150 injured.
- 11 October 2007: 2 killed in a blast inside Ajmer Sharif shrine during Ramadan.
- 25 August 2007: 42 dead, 60 hurt in Hyderabad 'terror' strike.
- 18 May 2007: A bomb at Mecca mosque in Hyderabad kills 11 people.
- 19 February 2007: Two bombs explode aboard a train, near Panipat, bound from India to Pakistan, burning to death at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis.
- 7 September 2006: 30 dead and 100 hurt in twin blasts at a mosque in Malegaon.
- 11 July 2006: Seven bombs on Mumbai's trains kill over 200 and injure 700 others.
- 7 March 2006: Three bombings at a train station and two temples in Varanasi kill 20 people.
- 29 October 2005: Three bombs placed in busy New Delhi markets a day before Diwali kill 62 people and injure hundreds.
- January 2008: Terrorist attack on CRPF camp in Rampur kills 8.
- August 2003: Two taxis packed with explosives blow up outside a Mumbai tourist attraction and a busy market, killing 52 and wounding more than 100.
- September 24, 2002: Militants with guns and explosives attack the Akshardham Hindu temple in the western state of Gujarat, 31 killed, More than 80 injured.
- May 14: Militants attack an army camp near Kashmir's winter capital, Jammu, killing more than 30, including wives and children of soldiers.
- December 13, 2001: More than a dozen people, including five gunmen, killed in an attack on parliament in New Delhi.
- October 1, 2001: Militants storm the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly complex, killing about 35 people.
- March 1993: Mumbai serial bombings kill 257 people and injure more than 1,100.