Tuesday, January 11, 2011

India: Thoughts on Samjauta Express Explosion

See also: www.southasiaanalysis.org

I paraphrase below the points made by me during a discussion on a TV channel on the night of January 10,2011, on the reported involvement of some members of the Hindu community in the explosion on the Samjauta Express running between Delhi and Lahore in the Indian territory on the night of February 18,2007, and in three other terrorist strikes directed against the Muslim community (Pl see my earlier article at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers43%5Cpaper4265.html )

* The reported involvement of some Hindus would be embarrassing not only for the Hindutva organisations, but also for the Government of India and its investigating agencies. The agencies were blaming the jihadi terrorists for these explosions, but now the investigation is pointing in a different direction towards some members of the Hindu community. This is bound to affect the credibility of our investigating agencies in the eyes of the international community of investigating agencies. They may not be taken seriously in future.

* Our investigating agencies should re-establish their credibility by vigorously pursuing the investigation into the alleged involvement of some Hindus to its logical conclusion in a methodical manner and successfully prosecuting those involved. We must be honest with ourselves in vigorously pursuing these cases till the truth is established

* It is natural that Pakistan will exploit our embarrassment for propaganda purposes. We have been accusing Pakistan of not being thorough and prompt in its investigation and prosecution of the Pakistani end of the conspiracy relating to the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. Now Pakistan will say that we ourselves have not been prompt and thorough in the investigation and prosecution of the above-mentioned blasts. The only way of countering the Pakistani propaganda and regaining our credibility is through methodical investigation.

* A confession made to a magistrate is an important piece of evidence, but it will acquire value for the successful prosecution of the cases only when it is corroborated by independent evidence. I get an impression from published reports that our investigating agencies have not been able to collect much by way of scientific evidence.

* I agree that we are in a denial mode with regard to indications of the involvement of some Hindus in these terrorist incidents. Many of our problems arise because of our lack of professionalism in the investigation of terrorism-related cases. Political considerations distort the professional investigation. That is one of the reasons why we have not been able to satisfactorily deal with the problem of terrorism. (11-1-11)

The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.