Be on guard

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri’s assertion that an Indian wing of his militant movement has been formed may stem from a struggle for supremacy with the emerging ISIS — or simply Islamic State (IS) — group of Sunni militants who are dominant in Iraq.

The IS are also getting active in what was once Al Qaeda’s exclusive zone in Afghanistan, dropping pamphlets to attract the youth and setting off a recruitment race. The Al Qaeda announcement is to be taken very seriously as the implications of a wider jihadi movement in the country is a grave risk in the light of problems actively stoked over the years by Pakistan’s ISI, as in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. The spillover of this pan-national militancy might affect us too as more impressionable young people from India are responding to this kind of motivation and some even turned up to fight in Iraq.
While the basic question remains why fundamentalists, who claim to have found their way to the ultimate truth, feel threatened by non-believers, the cold facts are visible on as several nations battle militancy. India has changed to an extent after a couple of cataclysmic events in the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium, all the more reason why the country has to be on guard against such doctrinaire propaganda naming specific areas like Assam, Ahmedabad and Kashmir to foment sectarian strife. The Centre has responded quickly enough to activate higher alertness levels. The fight against terrorism may be never-ending but we cannot afford to drop our guard.

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When our public sector is much in news whether it involves privatisation or disinvestment, it is worth recalling whether they are good corporate citizens, especially when they are monopolies.

How many deaths will it take to realise that too many young women in their prime have needlessly died?