On the 18th of December 2010, Swastika Sharma would have turned one. But on 7th December, 11 days before her birthday she was killed by terrorists on the ghats of Varanasi. The union home minister, P. Chidambaram and the Uttar Pradesh Chief minister, Mayawati visited the ghats and have promised to nab the perpetrators.
It is essential to nab the planter of the bomb, but it is of utmost importance to eliminate the masterminds of such terror attacks. There is a pattern to these attacks – strike temples on Tuesday and mosques on Fridays.
This is what Rajiv Kumar, Associate Producer, Research, Headlines Today pieced together. There is a very sinister design behind these terror attacks.
Targets and dates have been carefully chosen. A close look at recent attacks reveals the sinister design: Hindu temples have been targeted on Tuesdays, an auspicious day for the devotees of Hanuman, while Muslims and their mosques have been attacked on Fridays.
Varanasi Dec 7, 2010: Tuesday, Shitala Ghat Blast: 38 people injured.1 foreigner among the injured, The blast took place at around 6:30 PM just five minutes after the Ganga Aarti.
Jaipur May 13, 2008 : Tuesday serial blasts including one outside Hanuman Mandir, kills at least 60 in Jaipur
Ajmer Sharif Dargah October 11, 2007: Terror struck the revered Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti as thousands were breaking their Ramzan fast, a day before the Friday prayers. The bomb inside the complex killed two persons and injured another 28.
Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad May 18, 2007: 14 persons killed, more than 50 injured in blasts and subsequent police firing in adjoining areas. Blasts took place during Friday prayers.
Noorani Masjid, Malegaon September 8, 2006: Blasts on Friday coincided with the Shab-e-Barat. First bomb went off outside Masjid. Blasts at Mushaira Chowk and grave yard too. The toll: 38 killed, over 200 injured.
Jama Masjid, Delhi April 14, 2006: Low intensity blasts at India’s most famous mosque left 14 injured. First blast took place as the faithful prepared for Friday prayers.
Sankat Mochan Temple, Varanasi March 7, 2006: Twin blasts in city left 28 dead, injured over 100. Blasts took place on Tuesday when the temple is packed with devotees.
July 05, 2005: Terror In Ayodhya: Terrorist attack on the site of the 16th century Babri Masjid -Ram Janmabhoomi Hindu temple in Ayodhya on July 5, 2005 ( TUESDAY). Following the two-hour gunfight between Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists based in Pakistan and Indian police, in which six terrorists were killed, opposition parties called for a nationwide strike with the country's leaders condemning the attack, believed to have been masterminded by Dawood Ibrahim.
September 24, 2002: The Akshardham Temple Attack occurred on September 24, 2002 ( TUESDAY) when two heavily armed terrorists arrived at the Akshardham in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat at around 1630 hrs local time. They scaled the perimeter fence and opened fire, killing a woman and a temple volunteer right away. Then they began throwing grenades into the crowd at the temple. About 600 people were in the temple at the time. By the end of the attack, 29 people were killed and another 80 wounded. Apart from the 25 people killed in the first assault, 1 state policeman and 1 commando also died in the action (the total toll was 31 at the time the case started). One more seriously injured commando died after 2 years.
The devilish aim of those masterminding these attacks is to create a communal divide and cause riots.
After the Batla House encounter the Delhi Police succeeded in delivering a near fatal blow to the terrorist organization Indian Mujahideen. But terrorist sympathizers put so much pressure on the security forces that they did not move in to deliver the final blow. Some terrorists managed to escape – there is proof in public domain to show they lived with politicians and slowly have managed to regroup and strike at Varanasi.
These terrorists are still at large. They have fall back options – and not just in Azamgarh. They strike and melt into some ghettos where they are like fish in water.
After the Ahmedabad serial blasts and the failed Surat serial blasts – the Gujarat police led the way. Despite strong political opposition they moved in and made arrests. They went into Azamgarh. This was a time when the intelligence bureau and the Uttar Pradesh Police despite political opposition – moved in with great speed and made arrests in Azamgarh.
Political pressure once again forced the police to get their foot off the pedal giving these terrorists crucial breathing space. That nationwide effort to hunt down and neutralize terrorists that began after a spate of terror attacks in Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Surat became a victim of vote bank politics.
What are terrorists doing by attacking the ghats of Varanasi? Sending a message – we can strike at a place and time of our choosing. Hit you where it hurts the most and despite having intelligence about planned attacks (David Coleman Headley interrogation talks of attacks at Ghats and temples in Varanasi specifically), there is little Indian police can do to stop them.
An anti-terror drive cannot be an off again on again policy. Pressure has to be maintained constantly – irrespective of Congress or BJP in power.
The nation has to take a conscious call to kill convicted terrorists. Afzal Guru and Kasab are potential threats. Terrorists could hijack trains, planes, take school children, patients at hospitals, politicians, their kin, scientists…VIPs hostage and demand release of these terrorists like in the case of Maulana Masood Azhar.
Our governments have buckled in the past and there is no guarantee they will not do so again. Kill terrorists in custody and have a declared policy – terrorists may strike but they will have hell to buy when caught. They will be killed and their supporters/sympathisers jailed. There has to be a cost.
It is the government’s responsibility to ensure Swastika Sharma gets justice. Her killers – including those who planned the attack are punished! Evil must die.