Last year in November, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar embarked on a week-long visit to Pakistan. Why an Indian CM found it necessary to go on such a long visit to an enemy state and why did the three governments of Pakistan, Sindh and Punjab invite him is still not clear.
Of course people brushed it aside. Didn’t his predecessor Laloo Prasad Yadav do the same and didn’t he also once campaign with an Osama bin Laden look-alike? Why Laloo would want to be seen with an Al-Qaeda leader look-alike wasn’t questioned much by the media.
Bihar has always been a separate case altogether.
RSN Singh, a former military intelligence officer and RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer questioned Nitish’s Pakistan visit at a public meet in July this year. He asked why Nitish went there when Bihar does not share borders with Pakistan. There was also no talk of FDI investment.
Singh then talked of the hub of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) in relation to that.
The chilling part is that this particular column came just days before the Bodh Gaya blasts where the IM is suspected to have a hand. Reports soon surfaced that the Bihar Police had received an alert from the IB in the previous month itself, but they did not act upon it.
The very next month August was even more eventful. While Pakistan stepped up the offensive at the border, curiously a minister in the Nitish Cabinet in the form of Narendra Singh gave a clean chit to Pakistan! Another minister Bhim Singh said that people join the armed forces only to die.
In the same month, first expert bomb maker Syed Abdul Karim Tunda of the LeT was captured, followed by IM founder Yasin Bhatkal, both in the State of Bihar. While both were seen as major successes, many questions were also raised over the timings of all the above events.
Within months came the serial blasts in Patna during the rally of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Five people were killed and 85 injured. Bombs went off at the railway station and Gandhi Maidan where the rally took place.
The most sensational piece of news was that an unexploded bomb was found under the dais where Modi was to speak. That could be called an assassination attempt on the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate.
It was shocking that many sections of the media instead decided to play up statements by rival political leaders that it was the BJP which benefited from the blasts. The whole issue didn’t end there and more unexploded bombs were discovered later.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley gave an extended press conference where he raised a whole lot of question marks over the way the security was handled at Modi’s Gandhi Maidan rally.
Later a BJP activist claimed that when one bomb was spotted, the police checked it out but after that the bomb squad never came and it went off after 90 minutes.
It also came to light that there is something called the Ranchi Module of the Indian Mujahideen in the State. How deep are the terror networks in Bihar?
Things got more curious when reports surfaced of IM operative Tehseen Akhtar being the nephew of a Bihar JD(U) leader Taki Akhtar. Taki on his part has totally denied such a link, but it is clear that Nitish has much to answer for about the goings on in his State.
While the BJP slammed Nitish for not naming the IM in his Rajgir speech, BJP leader (and ex-minister) Giriraj Singh set the cat among the pigeons by directly asking whether Nitish conspired with the IM to kill Modi!
Former Union Home Secretary RK Singh blasted Bihar even further.
Singh claimed that the Bihar government did not support the Centre when it came to terror probes. He said that the Delhi Police and police forces from many other states would visit Bihar and arrest people from sleeper cells all the while when the Bihar Police had no clue.
Singh used the word “shameful” and said that Bhatkal spent 6-7 months in Bihar before his arrest.
The comedy of errors continues with blasts related to Bihar. Another suspect Mahre Alam was supposed to have been captured and then supposed to have escaped. There were so many conflicting reports that one doesn’t really know what to believe anymore.
Retired Major General GD Bakshi is another former official who has been quite critical of the security apparatus of India. He said in the same meet with RSN Singh that India was now at a crossroads with regard to terror and it was high time we acted.
It is a big cause of concern when former officials of the bureaucracy, Army and even the shadowy RAW are coming out and questioning the way the security is being run in the country today.
It is high time all political parties unite and take a much tougher stand on terror than they are taking right now: Starting with Bihar, where there are far too many questions than answers.
But is Nitish listening?
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