The dastardly bomb blasts in three crowded areas of Mumbai on 13th July led to indiscriminate deaths of about 20 persons, grievous injuries to over 100 and loss of property or livelihood for many innocent people. The people of Mumbai have responded with characteristic maturity, helping those in need even as they carry on with their busy life schedule. This is in marked contrast to the irresponsible behaviour of many politicians and officials in positions of authority.
Home Minister Chidambaram, while admitting that no specific lead has yet emerged, is reported to have said that “all cities in India are vulnerable to attack. Pakistan-Afghanistan is the epicentre of terrorism”. He is repeating the American mantra to cast suspicion on neighbouring countries even before any evidence has been unearthed. It is the height of irresponsibility on the part of such an important functionary as the Home Minister of India. To point fingers at someone based purely on prejudice is neither professional nor responsible conduct.
There are voices being raised calling for stepping up so-called security measures, stationing policemen in every crowded area, requiring every citizen to carry an identity card and so on. Such a reaction only serves to spread fear and does not contribute to uncovering the truth. The underlying prejudice in this case is that the crime has been committed by “non-state actors” and hence calls for further strengthening of the State and the role of its armed apparatus in everyday life.
All thinking Indians must condemn this criminal act and demand that the guilty party be identified, tried and punished. We must be vigilant and not be taken in by any form of propaganda by political forces that are keen to point fingers and make accusations without analysing any facts, based purely on prejudice and vested interests.
It is easy to blame religious extremism and non-state actors, especially “Islamic terrorists”, because the United States government has made it an international fashion to do so. It is easy to blame our neighbour in the north-west, but dispassionate observers will note that the government and people of Pakistan are currently engaged in a tense struggle defending their sovereignty against military operations and intelligence penetration by the United States. Pakistan stands to lose and not gain anything in political terms from the serial explosions in Mumbai.
Past track record does not instil confidence in the people that those in power will seriously pursue truth and justice, rather than exploiting the people’s anger to score points at political enemies and rivals. Hence we people must not only demand that the guilty must be identified and punished, but also take steps to strengthen our unity and level of organisation at the ground level. We must build and strengthen people’s committees in every mohalla and locality to protect and defend ourselves.
Lok Raj Sangathan calls on the Government of India to act with maturity and in a responsible way, in the interest of peace in South Asia and unity among the countries and peoples of Asia against predatory western imperial designs.