AA Edit | Govts in South must guard against Islamist extremism

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

Radicalisation of communities is the first in the literature of all terrorists

File photo of Emergency services personnel at the site after an LPG cylinder exploded inside a car, in Coimbatore, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022. One person was charred to death in the incident. (Photo: PTI)

The explosion of a pressure cooker carried by a person in an auto-rickshaw in Mangaluru in Karnataka and that of a gas cylinder in a car in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and the alleged links of the perpetrators of the acts with their accomplices in Kerala and their handlers across the border carry an eerie pattern of Islamist extremism that has lately anchored itself in the southern states. They call for legal, resolute and coordinated action by the law enforcement agencies. They also call for mindful, imaginative and democratic interventions by political and social organisations to deny them a space in our collective consciousness.

The Karnataka police have now confirmed that the blast which was passed off on the first day as a low intensity one was in fact triggered by an improvised explosive device and the police suspect it is an act of terror. The prime suspect is a terror accused who has been on the run and the police have identified his handler, another person suspected to have links with international Islamist terrorist organisations. He is said to have travelled widely in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and the police are out to check if the blasts in Coimbatore and Mangaluru are directly linked to one another.

The events which, had they gone as planned would have created immense havoc and led to loss of lives, are under investigation and the picture is still hazy. But the pattern that slowly emerges is that of a network out to carry out terrorist activities on Indian soil. It was not long ago that the Union government banned Popular Front of India and six organisations allied to it on the charges that they are linked to terror groups such as the ISIS, propagate anti-national sentiments and radicalise a particular section of society and constitute a major threat to internal security of the country. It cannot be missed that these events have taken place at spots where the PFI has a strong presence.

Radicalisation of communities is the first in the literature of all terrorists. They would have on their syllabus case studies of injustices perpetrated against the community and they use them to work up young minds. Settling scores with the system is next on the agenda. They will have little consideration that there is a democracy on the other side. The covert and overt support from across the border would take them beyond the point of no return.

India is a democracy, warts and all. It’s the political process that determines its policies. There is no denying the fact that Hindutva has a predominant say over the policies of the government in power but India still remains a secular nation. There is also no denying the fact that Islamists with weapons in hand do not represent the Indian Muslim who has democratic options to get his grievances addressed. Hardliners on all sides feed each other, unmindful of the suffering they thrust on the vast majority of their brethren. They also divert the discussion on substantive issues the nation faces. They must be dealt with the iron hand of the law while the political process that addresses that last Indian citizen should stop at no cost.