Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that he expected Pakistan to honor its promise to end cross-border terrorism.
And this comes at a time when both countries are decidedly allowing not just the line of control to be deregulated, but also the manufactured cultural division across borders be illegitimated. Any impediments to that will only result in suspension of the planned facilitation. There is no good reason why such a movement needs to be postponed at this point.
Crucial to remember here is that such intense acts at promoting mutual friendships have come not out of some vacuum, rather with concerted efforts by people across borders to challenge the status quo. People of Pakistan have clearly seen through the empty barrels of Benazir Bhuttos and Nawaj Sharrifs. Indian population has also collectively rejected the right wingers like Vajpayee and Advani. Empty rhetoric aimed at insulating people of shared cultural past (and political heritage too in their drives against colonial powers) have finally been attacked widely. Artistes have exchanged places despite threats from fanatics like Shiv Senas’. Editors have expressed solidarities despite barriers on such freedoms of speech. Leaders on both fronts have realized the growing public pressure to end the invented differences. And recent peace talks are culminations of such a hopeful past.
Suddenly New Delhi has been attacked. Of course it is strategically symbolic in that the cowards chose Sarojini Nagar, among all the places because of the density of working/middle class population there. But the bigger question is who might have been involved. Only that section of people who have a stake in the gains. And who would gain from the process?
The only theory doing the rounds in the Indian press is that Pakistan is involved. A certain journalist from BBC, Sanjoy Majumder who regularly opines carelessly, says India feels groups based in Pakistan or linked to them may have been involved.
There is a danger in such theorizing. Unlike in the past, the attack this time was not targeted at people in power or governmental institutions (Parliament etc.). Unlike in the past, neither Lashkar-e-Toiba nor the Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the attack. Instead a rather unknown group Inqilabi has claimed anything of worth. Moreover, even Kashmiri analysts are unaware of existence of this group.
In that case, where does the needle of suspicion point to? For once, just for once, if we absolve the ghost of Pakistan masterminding, then can we look within and see patterns of similar attacks on civilians? In India by Indians?
What about recent riots in Mumbai? In Gujarat? These led to deaths of thousands of people and we still cannot blame any group in Pakistan for perpetuating either. Delhi has been the domain of political groups who have been known to have incited hatred among people since decades now, for their own political gains. Why first look across the border for clues? How about looking at home front for possible explanations? Only after we have exhausted all possible logic for attacking civilians to disturb the initiated peace process that might have germinated from a certain section of Indian public, should we look beyond.
Let India not choose a pathetic model that American way of theorizing terror has created. Oklahoma bombing did not teach us a lesson. Recently as an empty threat in New York Subways came about, theory was already afloat that fundamentalists (of course from ‘their’ religion, not ours) were after us.
The riddle is not a Gordian knot. We must find out a good motive. There is a bloody good one. And it’s not Diwali. Please! Media is doing a disservice by giving coverage to irresponsible comments by leaders (a la Rice) who feel bad that it was days before Diwali. The attacks have nothing to do with Diwali. For the religious lot, no God teaches to annihilate people of other faiths. And for the irreligious lot, who have done the act, let’s say hypothetically in the name of religion, they would care less about Diwali as a point of reference. The only thing that has changed since last attack on Indian Parliament and this attack on Sarojini Nagar is not a new festival called Diwali. It’s the initiation of a peace process that would have made line of control a point of friendship.
After the serious examination of this motive, intelligence agencies must look into the genealogy of people who would otherwise be harmed if India were to aid Pakistan at such a time of grave danger for the latter with more than 80,000 of its people dead due to earthquakes. And at a time when Pakistan is in need much in excess of what is being offered worldwide. At such a time, India has come forward with immense goodwill gesture and just the way the British had tarnished every hope of a united India and Pakistan during their times of crisis, at this time, there is every hope of a unity to resurface. At this point, who would be most persistent at refusing such a thing from happening?
Nay, I just don’t believe it is Pakistan. The people out there, in our neighborhood are suffering at the moment. 80,000 dead in an economically impoverished nation. That’s burden upon cataclysm. They can’t be it. Come on now, Mr Indian Prime Minister. We have had enough of these hocus-pocus oratory every time any attack takes place. The easiest way to fool India’s masses has been to direct their frustration at a neighboring country. Instead of lecturing Pakistan about your expectations, start introspecting on the levels of expectations that you meet when peoples across the borders want no more of Indian army, no more of Pakistani unrest. All that folks want is a united South Asia. And the further you delay in understanding this, the merrier would be the forces of disharmony.