The entire episode should cause grave disquiet to all citizens at a time when the need for national security is paramount.
As Shri and Shrimati India sit in front of the television set in their living room and surf the evening television channels for their daily fix, they could perhaps be forgiven for being left speechless at the utter boorishness of their elected representatives, which is more or less on daily display in one House or the other of India’s Parliament. One such recent instance on the so-called “breaking news” was the loutish heckling in the Lok Sabha when the external affairs minister appealed for a brief period of silence during the proceedings to enable her to make a special mention of a particularly tragic issue: the confirmed deaths in Iraq of 39 Indian workers captured by the Islamic State in 2014, when they overran the northern Iraqi town of Mosul. The process of identifying the tortured remains had been initiated (including DNA testing), and these would be conveyed back to their final resting places in India after the grim formalities had been completed. Later, on April 1, the minister of state for external affairs (himself a former Chief of Staff of the Indian Army), flew to Iraq in order to escort the bodies back to India the following day on their final journey home. (The special aircraft with the bodies reached Amritsar from Baghdad on Monday afternoon. Of the 38, 31 belonged to Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.) It should be noted here that the Iraqi government, itself under severe stress due to the ongoing internecine conflict between the Kurdish Peshmarga and the Iraqi Army, was extremely co operative with the Indian government in the retrieval and identification of the remains at Mosul. India must publicly acknowledge this debt with gratitude.
But back home in India, the picture seems to be entirely different. even in what should have been a period of national grief, shameless political rowdyism in Parliament continued unabated, with a series of no-confidence motions sought to be moved against the government. The latter appeared to take priority over even the tragic murders of their own fellow citizens, and Parliament remained raucously recalcitrant, encouraged and even coordinated by a coterie of political princelings from the Opposition and their sycophantic cheerleaders. The entire episode should cause grave disquiet to all citizens at a time when the need for national security is paramount.
It is also disquieting that the outrage over this massacre of Indian citizens again reemphasised the serious politico-cultural divide between the cow belt North and the Dravidian, anti-Hindi South, because it did not resonate with uniform intensity throughout the country. This was possibly because the bulk of those returning in the coffins were from various states in northern India. South of the Vindhyas, emotions and politics in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka remain completely focused on an entirely different target, the decision of the Supreme Court of India regarding the distribution of water from the Cauvery river between the two respondent states. The murder of 39 of their fellow citizens by the Islamic State appear to have gone almost unnoticed in Tamil Nadu, possibly as the returning coffins did not belong to the region, which at least one Tamil politician has publicly referred to as “Dravid Nadu”, a phrase that has set off uneasy alarm bells amongst many in India’s defence forces, with memories of the frustrating misadventures of the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka in the 1980s and early 1990s. These veterans would have shifted uneasily in their seats, as they were hearing exactly the same conversations in the run-up to the dispatch of the Indian Peace-Keeping Force to Sri Lanka, to fight a politically confused and strategically irrelevant jungle campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), under Velupillai Prabhakaran, their psychopathic supreme leader. The irony of the situation was not lost on the Indian commanders and their troops, because their present opponents had been their erstwhile allies, trained by India’s covert agencies, and the same Indian Army had now been instructed to reverse course and bring the erstwhile protégés to heel. Easier said than done, because at the end of the day, after a three-year war and the assassination of a former Prime Minister, a sullen and frustrated Indian Army returned home with 1,138 of its soldiers dead and 2,762 soldiers wounded, distrustful of its political leaders as well as its own higher command. The damage would take long to repair.
However, to go back to the present issue of the massacre of Indian workers at Mosul by the Islamic State, the people of India need to understand clearly and unequivocally that the Islamic State, or ISIS, is a clear and present danger to this country, its culture and its political system. The enemy is an entity which practises and enforces a particularly barbaric and medieval form of religious radicalism preached by the Wahabi doctrine of Salafiya Islam. The Islamic State has been accorded a secure sanctuary in Pakistan, and forms part of the covert, plausibly deniable, strategic assets of that country, for attacking Indian assets and interests in Afghanistan as well as providing aid and support to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir. India simply cannot and will not accept the mass murder of its citizens abroad by assorted “foreign devils”. Nor will it tolerate the separatists at home, whether it is the Hurriyat and Dukhtaran in Srinagar, or the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen or their ilk. The country has to hit back hard at the enemy, seeking him out at the times and places of our own choosing, and employing the now considerable resources at the disposal of the country, which encompass diplomatic, economic, military as well as covert forces. This task has not been made easier by gau rakshaks and other assorted fundamentalists and criminals who have caused so much grief to our own citizens inside the country. These elements too must be put down with an iron hand everywhere. Not to do so would be a clear dereliction of national resolve and national duty.
The elections are coming in 2019. Remember that we, the people, are watching!