2013: A year in terror

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 05, 2013 03:47 hrs

Terror has become a part of the life of the global citizen and this year was no different.  A look at terror incidents in India in particular and also in the rest of the world…

Hyderabad, February 21:
17 people were killed and more than a hundred injured in twin blasts in the busy shopping district of Dilsukhnagar. IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were placed on bicycles and the Indian Mujahideen (IM) was the suspect group. Police later claimed that the Sai Baba Temple nearby was the initial target.

Srinagar, March 13: While the Kashmir insurgency began in the early 1990s and has claimed thousands of lives, the casualties are on the decline in the last couple of years.

However there was a major attack by Hizbul Mujahideen on a CRPF camp in Bemina which killed 5 CRPF men.

Boston, April 15: Two pressure cooker bombs went off near the finishing line of the Boston Marathon claiming 3 lives and injuring 264 others.

Within days there was a shutdown in the city and the subsequent manhunt identified Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the suspects. Tamerlan was shot down by the police while Dzhokhar was arrested.

Bangalore, April 17: 16 people were hurt when ammonium nitrate was used in bombs that went off near the BJP office in Malleswaram. This time the bombs were planted on a motorcycle.

Bodh Gaya, July 7: Serial blasts took place in and around the Mahabodhi Temple, the sacred site where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment.

It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a dastardly act, but luckily there were no casualties. Reports surfaced that the Bihar Police had received specific alerts related to the temple in the previous month. IM were again suspected.

Nairobi, September 21: Gunmen from the Islamist group al-Shabaab laid siege to the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya and there were 72 casualties which included 3 Indians. 200 people were injured and CCTV videos of the gunmen in action shocked the entire globe.

Patna, October 27: An assassination attempt on a Chief Minister and Prime Ministerial candidate. Bombs in the midst of one of the largest rallies in recent times. Serial bomb blasts in the rest of the city. Tragically six people died, but the toll could have been much higher.

The only sore point was the Indian politicians’ tendencies to politicize everything and claim that Narendra Modi and the BJP were the biggest beneficiaries of the blasts.

A BJP leader went ahead and accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of conspiring with the Indian Mujahideen to assassinate Modi!

Pakistan: It is estimated that 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed in blasts of all kinds since 9/11 with 2009 being the peak year with 3318 casualties. 2013 was no different and there were dozens of attacks throughout the year and throughout the country with Karachi, Lahore and Quetta being some of the high-profile ones.

Afghanistan and Iraq are two other countries where people get killed regularly and the world seems to have become desensitized to that.

There is also the issue of Naxalism and Maoism in India. With these labels one is not sure what the government actually thinks of them. Are they terrorists? Are they militants? Are they secessionists?

Post script…

The only breakthroughs for India were the capture of two terrorists. Syed Abdul Karim (Tunda) the Lashkar-e-Taiba bomb maker may have been involved in 40 bombings in his career. Of course Tunda is 70 and the circumstances of his arrest have been questioned by many.

The other catch was Yasin Bhatkal, founder of the Indian Mujahideen, which has been in the news throughout the year. Unlike Tunda, Bhatkal is just 30 and in the prime of his career and this could go a long way in stopping IM in its tracks. He is alleged to have taken arms training in Pakistan.

But so many terror incidents coming up in Bihar is a real cause of concern and many ex-officials have blasted the Bihar government’s attitude on terror.

The National Investigation Agency was formed in 2009 and has seen mixed results. One hopes that it gets it act together and we have a much safer 2014.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. 

He blogs here.