Shocking Attack On J&K Highway - Political Sabre-Rattling Not The Answer

Raman Swamy

In one voice the entire country has condemned the terrorist attack in J&K that has caused the death of more than two dozen CRPF jawans.  Cutting across political lines, party leaders across the spectrum have expressed shock at the brutality of the explosion on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway and expressed grief at the tragic loss of life.  

Such has been the intensity of emotional reactions that all have spontaneously reached out to the kith and kin of the bereaved. Many have demanded immediate action to identify the perpetrators of the gruesome act of destruction of human life on such a massive scale.  Some have also demanded immediate retaliatory action against the harbourers and sponsors of terrorism in Pakistan. 

The unanimous outpouring of anguish, alarm and anger reflects the truth that despite political differences and intense rivalry between political parties in the country, there can be no room for doubt that public leaders of every ideological hue are united when it comes to national security and national sentiments.

That is how it should be, and has always been.  This is the test of true patriotic feeling and nationalistic fervor.  The essence of being a true Indian is to feel the pain of the young jawans who have been so cruelly martyred.  A single powerful bomb blast has snuffed out their lives almost in an instant.  There can be no greater injustice than that, no worse form of mindless violence and no more despicable example of man’s inhumanity to man.

Moments of great tragedy affect all citizens. Whether one is a humble farmer or an unemployed youth, whether one is an ordinary housewife in Andhra Pradesh, a budding businessman in Maharashtra or a sincere social worker in Odisha, the instant response is one of horror and sorrow.  This is followed almost instantly by a complex mix of anger, fear, confusion and deep despair. 

It is no secret that India as a nation is facing many daunting challenges.  But there are times when internal bickering and mutual loathing among political parties and sections of the population need to be paused to reflect on the bigger threat - the temptation to leverage what happened on the Highway for political advantage and electoral gains. The temptation, too, of trying to divert attention from pressing national problems and to squander energy by issuing war-cries and threatening to take revenge against an unknown or assumed enemy by launching retaliatory military strikes. 

Equally ill-advised and dangerous would be to resort of whipping up of vicious versions of false patriotism by accusing political rivals and independent thinkers within the country of being “apologists of terror” and traitors owing allegiance to foreign masters.  

Unfortunately, a few such voices are already beginning to be heard -  that too coming from the lips of persons holding positions of power and responsibility.  Fortunately, such voices have not as yet reached a higher pitch.  Hopefully the considered official response to the atrocity on the Highway will not be a frenzied bout of baying for blood.   To descend down the path of rampant witch-hunting as brutal as the terror attack itself would not only be a sign of immature and reckless revenge but also a symptom of deliberate political skullduggery.  India at 72 is better than that, it is not a land afflicted by infantile paralysis.  

Feb 16, 2019

Raman Swamy [email protected]

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