This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.
Even as we await more details of the plot behind the terrorist attacks in Malegaon, and even as media and political reactions to the affair take on even more grotesque forms, some commentators have argued that there can be no moral equivalence between a form of terrorism that seeks to destroy the Indian state and a form that does not seek it.
This argument is fallacious. Political violence of any form is morally repugnant and indefensible. Terrorism—a form that involves the indiscriminate targeting of civilians—is perhaps the most repugnant. It is repugnant if carried out by nationalists, separatists, secessionists, Leftists, jihadis or Hindu extremists. The first step in a national strategy to defeat terrorism is the realisation that political violence, leave alone terrorism, must not be tolerated by civil society.
So “Hindu terrorists” are being suspected of having carried out the bombings in Malegaon. Even as segments of the political spectrum delight in emphasising the adjective “Hindu” in that phrase, it is the noun “terrorist” that must be the focus of our attention. And our condemnation.
The communal overtones of the debate over the Malegaon terrorist attacks only underline the fact that that UPA government’s failure to maintain internal security, its yielding to competitive intolerance and its viewing of counter-terrorism through a communal prism risks sparking off political violence on a wider scale. The descent to matsya-nyaya is palpable: and unless arrested immediately, will have grave consequences in the near future. For the normative illegitimacy of political violence requires the state to enforce and be seen as enforcing the rule of law.
The only solution is a complete, resolute and unambiguous intolerance of political violence and terrorism—regardless of scale or perpetrator—by the government. And yes, by Indian society.
© Copyright 2003-2023. Nitin Pai. All Rights Reserved.