By Antony Cony, Karkala/Qatar
It was early evening in Pakistan. Terror stuck with a difference at Lahore park, for it was the Easter day. Perhaps they intended to kill a maximum number of Christians on Easter, the same day when Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected to heaven from death. Probably it was a deliberate act intended to send a maximum number of Christians to heaven on the day Jesus was resurrected, in a sort of mockery of the Christian belief. What a melancholy tactic for a strike! Even though the group said it had deliberately targeted Christians "celebrating Easter", it has started to emerge that most of those killed in Lahore were Muslims, more than the Christians. God is One. He is a just God. Surely He has taken all of those innocent victims to heavenly adobe. Thus by death, they have all become ONE in heaven.
The bombing of the amusement park on Easter Sunday was the bloodiest attack on Christians in Pakistan since the 2013 Peshawar church bombing that killed more than 80 people. Dozens of children and mothers were among the victims of the Easter Sunday suicide attack. One witness had said, "I saw body parts everywhere, especially those of young children. It was quite haunting, as many of the children's rides were still operating, while parents were seen searching for their children among the debris in the aftermath of the blast."
Another shocker of the season was the rumour that Fr Tom had been crucified on Good Friday. Since there is no confirmation from the official sources, I wish by the grace of God he is alive and comes out of such deadly ordeal soon. Fr Vincent Matthew, a priest from the Salesian Bangalore Province, said: "We have absolutely no information from any reliable sources till date to confirm that Fr Tom has been crucified." Therefore, let us pray in the words of Psalms 139. 16 and IS. 49:15-16:
"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life is recorded in your book.
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me."
Terrorism is a social disease, a social evil, a tactic. Its objectives could be many. If someone can objectively isolate the tactic from the cause, an agreed definition could be easily put forth. In other words, terrorism is an act of violence carried out by non-state, irrational actors, targeting civilians for any cause, whether just or notthreatening the use of violence inorder to gain political, ideological, social, monitorial or personal mileages.
Terror has no religion, nor has any religion ever favoured terrorism. Some splinter radical groups terrorize the minds of the people not necessarily in the name of any religion nor because they are born in that religion. If we look at history, we can see terrorists have sprung from almost every faith. They are the isolated few that have caused society to malfunction. It is interesting to know why those small groups (eventually some have grown to the size of a small nation) are called terror groups or have became one. Reasons could be many, spread over a few decades. However, the most discussed one is that some of the Western and European countries have/had evil designs in the Middle East to control its oil which they consider as their weapon. Some Middle East wars were also fought from this perceptive, it is known.
Some say terrorists are crazy, they are crazed by hatred and anger or they are rational within their own perspective. It could be true for they have been driven to be crazy or are made crazy by people from other religions interfering, oppressing and mocking their religion or Prophet, that is, in the case of Paris Charlie Hebdo. In this case they became self-professed saviors of their religion and retaliated by any means at their disposal, that is suicide bombs.
Powerful nations use powerful technology like drones and missiles while the less privileged, weaker groups who are called as terrorists use suicide bombs as their potent weapon to terrorize the other party out of frustration and anger. Here, the entire motive of hate and crime is revenge. Over the past month, there has been a surge in global terrorism. Recent examples being deadly suicide bombing cases in France and Brussels, downing of Egypt planed, bombing of Turkey's cultural center, Lebanon and Nigeria. There have also been several other attacks, mainly concentrated across the Middle East and Northern Africa. Nowadays such terrorizing acts are imitated by some to run their crazy missions, as in the way EgyptAir MS181 was hijacked carrying 62 people and landed in Cyprus.
The purpose of my article is not to write about terrorists nor to highlight about their terror activities. Such information is freely available in web portals, news columns and media. My only purpose in writing this article is to highlight how terrorism has brought adverse effects and how badly it has shaken humanitarian values, widened the bridge of mistrust and hatred between nations, religions and among the international societies.
A primary goal of terrorism is to disrupt society by causing widespread psychological damage and social disruption. Secondly, the purpose of terrorism is to provoke social, political and economic fallout. Terrorism always aims to inspire the kind of fear that will get people to change their behaviour, like how security in Bengaluru was tightened following reports that a few extremists had entered the city with the intention of carrying out terror attacks. But the police dismissed the reports on the 'terrorists' entering the city but at the same time security was tightened in sensitive areas as a precautionary measure. The police requested the public not to panic: "We request people not to panic by the news and steps would be taken to thwart any attempts by anybody to spread violence. We request the citizens to alert us about any suspicious objects or movement."
Speaking of social, political and economic fallout, the first among them is the letter 'R' which stands for 'Refugees'. Almost every nation is afraid of the letter 'R'. Syrians and Iraqis have been fleeing their countries due to civil wars these past few years, but the refugee crisis grabbed international headlines last year when it forced itself on the European scene. Over 500,000 Syrian asylum seekers and thousands of Iraqis have gone to Europe and that number is still climbing. Some European governments reacted harshly, barring refugees from entering and restricting their transit, while others, notably Germany, are welcoming them with open arms - at least for now. One of the reasons for the reluctance to accept refugees was fear that terrorists could enter their countries disguised as refugees.
Refugees who travel weeks together at the international borders que up at the mercy of others not from the religion point of view but as helpless human beings wanting to meet their immediate needs of food, shelter and end days of uncertainty of stay.
Children are vulnerable to the far-reaching impact of terrorism and disasters. Children are at grave risk of experiencing mental health difficulties after a disaster or act of terrorism, especially those who are near to or actually witness the event, those who lose loved ones as a result of an such act, and even those children who merely live in the affected community or watch day and night coverage of the horror events on television which has become a part and parcel of childhood days - scary entertainment indeed.
Terrorism has greatly impacted society and economy. Terrorism poses a serious law and order problem and leads to disintegration of society. Incidents of murder, torture, mutilation, kidnapping, arson and extortion create an atmosphere of suspicion, fear and panic all around. Life becomes uncertain. The terrorists kill unarmed civilians including women and children. Organized crime and violence has caused social disharmony. The inter relationship among various insurgent groups and their foreign linkages brings illegal money and encourages smuggling. Tourism industry also has taken a severe beating causing disruption on the economic front in global travel and tourism industry.
Since Independence, India has been dogged by problem of insurgency and terrorism in different parts of the country. Be it Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir on the India-Pakistan border, or in the northeast bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, or in Bihar bordering Nepal; or states like Andhra or Madhya Pradesh which do not have international borders, insurgency and terrorism are problems that continue to create tension. To top it all, there is also fleeting terrorism in the form of religious anger between communities or against the government.
Pakistan has long been accused by India of its involvement in terrorist activities within India. Terrorism can be defined as the use of violence and threats to achieve some type of goals. The prime motive of our neighbour is to destabilize and weaken India economically. Jammu and Kashmir has not just become vulnerable to terrorism, but also become target of a proxy war being waged by the Pakistani Army through its fanatic surrogates. The impact of terrorism is often on our country's economic growth, investment growth, government expenditure and government cost of borrowing. Following are some of the major operations executed by Pakistan mostly through its terror tactic cell groups within India:
December 22, 2000 Attack on Red Fort in Delhi, 3 killed.
October 1, 2001 – Attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly.
December 13, 2001 – Suicide attack on Indian parliament in New Delhi by Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organizations Jaish-E-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, aimed at eliminating the top leadership of India and causing anarchy in the country; 7 dead, 12 injured.
August 25, 2003 – Twin car bombings killed 54, and injured 244 people in Mumbai.
October 29, 2005 – 2005 Delhi bombings, India. Over 60 killed and over 180 injured in a series of three attacks in crowded markets and a bus.
July 11, 2006 – 2006 Mumbai train bombings: Seven bomb blasts over a period of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai. 209 killed and over 700 injured.
And recently on January 2, 2016 – In Pathankot attack militants from beyond the border attacked an Indian air base killing 7 security force members, seriously wounding many.
The most important lesson from Pathankot attack is that India has not demonstrated that it has the effective tools to defend itself against terrorism. The fact that it took Indian troops over 18 hours to overpower four poorly trained terrorists, and cost us seven precious lives, proves that India has not learned lessons from the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. India needs to pull up its socks and chart out a clear roadmap on how to counter terrorism, by first identifying and accepting the weak points and then plugging the holes through capacity-building. Successive governments have highlighted this security concern in the election manifestos, but botched up thereafter. PM Modi’s government is no different in this case. Angry outbursts cannot defeat terrorism; it needs calm, focussed and more importantly, timely action.
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