Warning from Sri Lanka’s bombings
Posted on April 24th, 2019

Courtesy The Economic Times

If the Islamic State is active in south Asia, India would definitely be a prime candidate for terror strikes. Indian intelligence agencies have to be on high alert and policing, rigorous. Most importantly, the citizenry must be vigilant, ready to notice suspicious activity, investigate it discreetly and report what does not pass the test of innocence to the authorities. At a broader and generalised level, religious and quasi-religious activity across all faiths must be monitored for signs of radicalisation and voices raised from within communities against radicalism that could lead to violence. Political parties must appreciate their special responsibility in curbing the radical impulse, even when the temptation is strong to feed it for short-term political gain.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bomb blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter that killed more than 350 people. While it is unclear if this is mere glory-seeking by the outfit after it has been stripped of territory or a substantive claim, prudence calls for taking the claim seriously, and being on guard. India is said to have supplied intelligence to Sri Lanka about the bombing being planned by an outfit called the National Thowheeth Jama-’ath. Sri Lankan officials have brought into the discussion a splinter group as well. Whatever the precise name of the organisation that planned and executed this horrific massacre, what is striking is the fanaticism of the suicide bombers, who blew themselves up without any personal grievance or direct animosity towards their victims, except for their adherence to a faith other than their own. Such religion-based animosity towards fellow human beings is not the monopoly of the Islamic State, nor new to India — Mohandas Gandhi fell victim to precisely such religion-based hatred.

Community elders, religious heads and political leaders of all hues must wake up to the dangers of breeding religion-based hatred. It can blow up not just some people and buildings but the foundations of our nation itself. Politics must build and protect, not just jostle for power.

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