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Terrorism in India, Muslims, Hindus

Government vs. People:  Who can keep us safe?

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 By Dr. Richard Benkin  Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sometimes, we Americans laugh at announcements to watch for suspicious behavior and unattended bags at airports and in other public places; but in India, where serious terrorist attacks have been no stranger, we just saw very clearly how seriously we should take these calls.

On February 10, police recovered a time bomb hidden in a shoe box that was left on a Varanasi bound bus.  As the bus got ready to leave Chunar—only 23 kilometers from Varanasi—a passenger noticed the abandoned box on a rear seat and alerted the conductor.  When he tried to check it, something fell from it and chaos ensued.  The passengers stampeded from the bus, and local police immediately called a nearby bomb disposal squad, which identified the object as a steel pipe with a timer affixed to it—a common device used in terror bombings here.  Sources also said that the bomb was timed to explode shortly after the bus entered Varanasi, which is also about the time that my plane landed there.  More importantly, not only is Varanasi Hinduism’s holiest city, but on top of that its population has swelled to several times its normal size because of the Mahakumbh in nearby Allahabad, which is drawing tens of millions of pilgrims.  The discovery of the bomb also comes at a time of high tension in India after the hanging of an Islamist terrorist for his role in the 2001 Islamist terror attack on the Indian parliament.

Although police and other authorities had stepped up security in Varanasi already, it took an alert citizen to avert a major terror attack that likely would inflame passions across this nation and cause massive casualties.

Contrast that to the successful Islamist bombings of a crowded market and theater in the South Indian city of Hyderabad.  The bombs were timed to explode consecutively beginning at 7pm local time at two crowded sites in the city of 7 million people.  There were 116 killed and wounded.  As the evening wore on and more evidence emerged the next day, it became clear that the bombings were the work of the Pakistan-funded Indian Mujahadeen (IM), a group responsible for terror attacks that have killed over 300 Indians and injured many times more.  As hours turned into days, widespread reports also confirmed that there were unequivocal warnings from intelligence about this, but the government chose to ignore them.  Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde visited the blast site and has become the left-center Congress government’s voice.  He has been scored in the media, and the tumult in the Lok Sabha (roughly like the US House) forced the legislature to shut down.

After a couple days of blaring headlines, however, both the media and politicians moved on to other matters.  While those matters are indeed serious, public debate has faded over the current Indian government’s failure to do what the lone citizen on a Varinasi-bound bus did:  recognize that protecting the people from a proven threat trumps political and personal considerations.  In one case, intelligence forces and police were allowed to do their jobs, and a disaster was averted thanks to that alert individual.  In the other, the government got involved and let their priorities determine what to do.  They prevented those same professionals from doing that job, which they do very well, and 116 families had their lives turned upside down forever.

Author
Dr. Richard Benkin  Bio

Dr. Richard Benkin Most recent columns

Dr. Richard L. Benkin is a human rights activist who most often finds himself battling America’s and Israel’s enemies.  He is the foremost advocate fighting to stop the ethnic cleansing of Hindus by Islamists and their fellow travelers in Bangladesh. He earlier secured the release of an anti-jihadi journalist and stopped an anti-Israel conference at an official Australian statehouse.  For more information, go to InterfaithStrength.com or Forcefield. Dr. Benkin can be reached at: drrbenkin@comcast.net