Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Terrorist Attack On Amarnath Pilgrimage, Shakes the Indian Security Establishment To Its Roots

- Rajesh Tyagi/ 11.7.2017

Seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 others got injured in a terrorist attack when terrorists opened fire on a bus near Batengoo, between Bari and Ananatnag, in South Kashmir's Anantnag district, on Monday night at around 8.15 pm.

The bus, bearing Gujarat registration number, was on its way back from Baltal to Jammu when the attack took place. "Fire came from all three sides of the bus", survivors of the attack, told.

Security forces that utterly failed to prevent the attack despite clear warnings issued much in advance, were prompt in their guesswork accusing Pakistan for the same. “The terror attack on Amaranth yatra pilgrims on Monday was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba and was masterminded by a Pakistani terrorist Ismail”, claimed Inspector General of J & K police Muneer Khan while talking to ANI news agency, on Tuesday.

This is not the first-time that Amarnath pilgrims have been attacked. In July 2001, a militant hurled two grenades at a pilgrim camp before opening fire near the Amarnath shrine, killing nearly 13 people. The next year, even though nearly 15,000 security personnel and policemen were deployed to provide security to the pilgrims, terrorists killed eight pilgrims and injured 30 in an attack on the Nunwan camp on the way to the Amarnath shrine.

The latest attack on Monday, coming as it did on the first day of "shravan" season, associated with the Hindu god Shiva, central to the pilgrimage - added to the outrage over the killings.

The police, however denied that the pilgrimage was the target of terrorist attack. Sources said the terrorists attacked a police bunker at Batengoo injuring 3 policemen, where police returned the fire. The bus was caught in crossfire between terrorists and the police coming twice, within 75 meters, in fire range, in which 7 pilgrims died.  

The government attempted to shrug off its responsibility for failure of its security forces in providing cover to the pilgrims despite clear warnings in advance. Within hours of the attack, it claimed that it was not a security lapse as the bus was not registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board and was plying after permitted hours without adequate security.

However it failed to explain as to how a bus had plied through dozens of checkposts, without requisite registration of the vehicle and pilgrims, that too after the permitted hours, on the most sensitive route, despite clear advance warnings of a terrorist attack as soon as June 25.

No pretexts could explain and justify the gross security lapse on the part of the government and its security forces, except the all pervading corruption coupled with crass callousness of bureaucracy, that have percolated to the roots of the seven decades old bourgeois rule in India. Any and all such rules and the check posts can be evaded through bribing the corrupt and indolent officials.

Other pilgrims in the bus, were however saved, as the driver of the bus, Salim, putting his own life at stake, drove the bus to an army camp, defying the command of terrorists, even with a tyre deflated by the terrorists. Had he not done it, none of the 57 pilgrims could have survived.

The attack is seen as crossing all red lines, as this time not only the attack was forewarned and well anticipated but heavy arrangements were made to secure the pilgrimage to Amarnath. Apart from the unprecedented deployment of 45 thousand army personnel en-route to the shrine, local police was put on high alert and dozens of US drones were deployed to oversee the region.

Unable to offer any explanation for the failure of such heavy security arrangement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi bragged on Monday night “India will never get bogged down by such cowardly attacks and evil designs of hate". Echoing the same, the J&K's chief minister and coalition partner of BJP, Mehbooba Mufti, said the “terror attack on the pilgrims is a blot on all Muslims and Kashmiris. I have no words to condemn it. I hope the security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police arrest the perpetrators forthwith and take stern action against them". Not only they don’t have any words to condemn it, but they have no real way out of it.

Opposition leaders also condemned the attack accusing the government for the failure. "This is a grave & unacceptable security lapse. The PM needs to accept responsibility and never allow it to happen again," Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said. "Every right-thinking Kashmiri must today condemn the killing of the Amarnath yatris... These terrorists are the enemies of Kashmir & Kashmiriyat," said former J&K chef minister Omar Abdullah. The incumbent President and the two Presidential candidates also expressed the same sentiments.

Shamefaced at the inability of the coalition government in Kashmir, to which the rightwing BJP is a partner, its front organization VHP and allies like JK NPP have joined the bandh call given by opposition parties- Congress and NC.

As the attack is shrouded in circumstances leading to no less than a mystery, conjectures are being made that the right-wing Hindu-supremacist government itself has engineered the attacks to polarize the votes on communal divide on the eve of Assembly elections in Gujarat.

Whatever may be the probability of these wild surmises, instead of getting trapped in such gossips, we must look at the greater picture beyond the immediate causes.

Terrorism in Kashmir is funded and supported by neighboring Pakistan, the geo-political rival to India. For this, the impulse however comes from the repression of Kashmiri nationality by the rulers of New Delhi, that provides volunteers to terrorist outfits. While accusing Pakistan of terrorism inside its territory, Indian rulers do the same within territory of Pakistan. Recently, the functionaries in Indian government have openly threatened Pakistan of forcible dismemberment of Baluchistan from Pakistan. 

For long, alike India, Pakistan has also repeatedly accused India for terrorist attacks into its territory. The pre-emptive surgical strikes carried out by India deep inside the territory of Pakistan recently, were the proclaimed military interventions. While the two rival countries continue accusing each other for indulging into proxy war through terrorist strikes across each other’s frontiers and violation of human rights inside their own frontiers, the fact remains that the two rival countries have worst record in violation of human rights inside and across their frontiers.

The geo-political rivalry between the two countries is the offshoot of communal partition of 1947 that came on the back of the abortion of the anti-colonial struggle and its cruel suppression in face of a settlement between the bourgeoisie of India and Britain. This rivalry has been perpetuated over decades after 47. Today, the two South Asian countries, house to poverty, illiteracy, diseases and depravity of all sorts, have become tools and tails of rival imperialist camps under US and China.

The hostilities between the two nuclear armed states of India and Pakistan, that presently are carried out undercover in proxy wars, what in common parlance are termed as ‘terrorism’, are only preparing the way to a full fledged war. The two states had already fought two wars in the past and the impending one that in all probability may lead to a nuclear conflagration forthwith, would be devastating for the entire region. The war drive is the necessary and logical outcome of the aspirations of the bourgeois rulers of both countries, where both of them rival each other for domination in South Asia.  

To cover up the basic reasons for terrorism, violence and bloodshed, the rival states accuse each other for terrorist attacks in their territories and after every such attack assure their people to beef up the security and pledge to teach lessons to the other, laying groundwork for further continuation of hostilities.

In the aftermath of the attack, National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval has briefed PM Modi today, on the attack. Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, today has held a security review meeting in the wake of a terror attack. Senior union home ministry officials, including minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir and Kashmir joint secretary Gyaneshwar Kumar have visited J&K today. J&K governor NN Vohra has also called a meeting in Srinagar, said ANI.

The Indian government has claimed that security has been beefed up along all routes leading to the Pahalgam and Baltal base camps in Anantnag and Ganderbal districts respectively. “Additional police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed en-route to the cave shrine to prevent repeat of any such incident”, a police official said.

However, all such measures are mere eye-wash and have proved futile and worthless in the face of organized terrorist hostilities. Violence and bloodshed not only continues but is escalating every year. Police methods are grossly inadequate to prevent the organized violence supported by the rival national states.

The state sponsored violence continues unabated and would continue till capitalism lives on and the bourgeois national-states in which it remains rooted, stay. This rivalry and continued hostilities constitute a prelude to the impending war that threatens to extinct the entire human race through a conflagration into a nuclear world war.

However the same forces that generate the danger of the war also provide impulse to the revolution. The way forward is thus not to make futile appeals to the governments for not indulging in violence and wars, but to appeal to the working class to carry out a socialist revolution to uproot capitalism alongwith its political national states.

This can be done through establishment of a socialist union of South Asian states that all are home to poverty, illiteracy, disease and all sorts of depravity. In turn, they cannot be united except through a revolution led by the working class, as part of a world socialist revolution. The way forward thus lies in reuniting the Indian sub-continent through a socialist revolution and around it all of the South Asian states, into a socialist union. 

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