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On the first anniversary of the July 11 train bombings, security expert B Raman, arguably India's most well-known writer on terrorism and security affairs, spent time with rediff.com readers in a chat, discussing issues from terrorism to the recent Lal Masjid stand off in Pakistan.
Here is the transcript.
B.Raman says, Hi. Raman here.
B.Raman says, No one over there?
B.Raman says, No Questions?
ajuia asked, Sir, I like your article how dealt with Americans in 1993. Do you think our present Govt. lacks will to deal with americans same way?
B.Raman answers, at 2007-07-11 17:07:47It does. Too weak before US.
jeff asked, Why Indian leadership is not taking tough stand on terrorist. Is India a soft state
B.Raman answers, Before 1996, Indian leadership used to bite. Post-1996 leaders don't like to bite.Pity. Public opinion should demand strong action.
TERRORIST asked, Hii raman how are u.Just want to ask that how we can curb this terrorism which is playing havoc on our daily lives.Can it be brought down by Uniform civil code.????
B.Raman answers, It can be brought down by letting Police & Intelligence agencies do their job without giving them sermons on the need top be sensitive to minorities.
phamitus asked, Do you think yesterday's Masjid firing, which Musharraf claims as was his last resort after discussions, was planned? To earn brownie points with the US?
B.Raman answers, No. He was forced to act by the Chinese. He can take the US for a ride, but not the Chinese.
test asked, do any terror laws exist today? POTA or TADA or something like that?
B.Raman answers, Special laws help. But we can crush terrorism even with existing laws, provided the political leadership has the required guts and lets the police & agencies function as they should.
sandy asked, how do you think we can if not end but start to do somthing towards the barbaric act by the terrorists in india?
B.Raman answers, It just requires a determination by the political leadership that it will not turn the other cheek.National interests have to be enforced with will and determination.
rsm asked, Hi, Raman. with the present outbreak of PAK military against extrmists at red mosque. How do you think about effect on the terrorist activity in our country
B.Raman answers, Jihadi terrorism in our territory and against our nationals will continue as before irrespective of what happens in Lal Masjid.
Gautam asked, Is government trying to curb terrorism by looking at the root cause of it?
B.Raman answers, Certain kinds of terrorism have root causes. Example: Naxalite terrorism. Insurgencies too have root causes. jihadi terrorism has no root cause. It has only pretexts. We have to deal with each kind of terrorism in a way which suits it.
venkat asked, What are repercussions can be expected in India over Lal Masjid incident?
B.Raman answers, I do not for the present expect any repercussions from the terrorists directly. What I apprehend is that if things take a turn for the worse for the militatry regime in Pakistan, it might not only step up assistance to the jihadis, but it might also egg on the Khalistanis to revive their terrorism. Military dictators, when in trouble, look for external adventures & diversion.
Nandan asked, Good Evening Mr Raman,Its indeed a previlege to chat to a person of your stature. 1.Considering the Indian connection in the recent UK(Glasgow) Terrorist attack , How well are our intelligence agencies are geared up to prevent Terroist from using india as thier hub for planning and executing such attacks in the future? 2.Considering the rampant radicalization of some sections of minorites , it is not high time that our Intellegence agencies penetrate deeper into this radical groups to prevent Terrorist attacks in india and abroad. what do think are difficulties for Agencies to carry out such operation. 3. And Do you think india should adopt polices like israel ,where they identify and eliminate a potential terrorist.
B.Raman answers, Our intelligence agencies and police showed in Punjab how they can be effective. They are not that effective against jihadis because they have to deal with them with one hand tied. Moreover, our counter-terrorism capabilities have not kept pace with the technical capabilities of the terrorists. For example, the way they use the Internet. We are still not in a position to monitor them effectively. There are lots of other things which need attention such as stopping the flow of funds from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, action against illegal immigrants etc. Intelligence agencies need a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy, but such a strategy has no interest for the political leadership. What we are doing now is fire-fighting,
sourabh asked, Hello Sir......what`s your take on Fundamentalist radical madarsas that seems to be breeding a new smart crop of terrorists
B.Raman answers, Yes. Bangalore is a second wake-up call about Wahabisation of some Muslim youth---educated types. First was in Mumbai a year ago. We can deal with a problem provided you recognise there is a problem. Our leadership does not want to recognise or admit that we already face the problem of Wahabisation of Muslim youth. Intelligence agencies can only sound the alarm bell. They cannot force the political leadership to act. Only the public opinion and voters can force the political leaders to act. If half a dozen political leaders lose the election because of their softness to jihadi terrorism, things will start changing
Princess asked, Hello Mr Raman, welcome to the chat...tell me, what is the point in harping on "Islamic terror" when everyone knows the terrorists really have no religion, no ideology, they are only motivated to kill?
B.Raman answers, Only jihadi terrorists advocate and practice mass casualty terrorism. Only they talk of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. They do have religion because they kill in the the name of their religion. They don't kill in the name of poverty and misery of the Muslims. They kill in the name of an Islamic Caliphate, they kill in the name of Islamic solidarity. So we have to call a spade a spade.
asdfasdf asked, do u think the relationship between india and pakistan will improve ever
B.Raman answers, Not in the immediate and short term. But one should try. Large sections of the people of Pakistan still believe that the Muslims should rule the Indian sub-continent. There are a lot of incompatabilities between the Pakistanis and us. It is in their gene. So we should keep trying to change their mindset without indulging in wishful-thinking.
Ajay asked, Sir, Isnt it true that muslims having the largest population on this planet are lagging behind in all spheres of life. And this has caused terrorism to increase as a reaction to inferiority complex they face?
B.Raman answers, Muslims have a hell of a lot of problems---poverty, misery, unemployment, discrimination etc. But the global jihad which we face today has nothing to do with this. It has a lot to do with their determination to reverse the course of history and make them rulers again wherever they think they ruled in the past. And they have developed a mindset that the Muslims can do no wrong That all wrongs are by non-Muslims. So today's global terrorism arises from this warped mind and not from their economic and social problems.
rsk asked, What should every helpless citizen do in current scenario?
B.Raman answers, Force the political leaders to act firmly against terrorism. You have the power of vote. Use it effectively against softies. Everyone talks of the vote bank of the minorities. What about the vote bank of the majority. Use it as an effective weapon.
Indian asked, Mr, Raman. Which political leaders have shown real will to end terrorism? Indian or foreign.
B.Raman answers, I feel that Narasimha Rao, Beant Singh and Rajesh Pilot were fairly effective against terrorism. They gave the police and the intelligence a free hand and let them do whatever was necessary.At the global level, Margaret Thatcher followed a good policy against the IRA, but it did not produce results in her time. I do not want India to emulate the Israeli methods. They won't suit a pluralistic society like ours.
venkat asked, Considering the nature of polity now we have in India,What is the motivation level in intelligence agencies to cope up with this type terrorism ,since in the event of a crisis the needle always points towrds them for the failure?
B.Raman answers, Motivation is there, but motivation alone is not sufficient. They have to change their methods of collection, they have to be ahead of the terrorists in respect of technical capability. Today's terrorists are highly educated, innovative and technically and technologically competent. Our intelligence agencies have not kept pace with them. The right kind of officers are not joining the profession. The politicians don't take interest in improving their capability.In the 1990s our police force got politicised. Now we are seeing the politicisation of the intelligence agencies.
Jaganniwas asked, Good evening, sir. My name is Jaganniwas Iyer and I am an avid reader and follower of your articles on security and terrorism. Sir, my question to you on the firts anniversary of July 11, 2006, is, how do you assess the current situation in the Indian sub-continent and the spectre of Islamic terrorism?
B.Raman answers, The current situation is disturbing. Our police and agencies had gaps in prevention in the past, but their investigative competence was high. We saw it in the investigation and prosection of March 1993 blasts in Mumbai. For the last three years, there has been a deterioration in their investigative capability too. This is worrisome.
Brittoj asked, Do you think that LTTE is still dangerous for India?
B.Raman answers, Yes. It is. It is a ruthless organisation. Very innovative. See the way it acquired a mini Air Force. Unfortunately, we are no longer paying the LTTE the serious attention it deserves in order to ensure that its capability for terrorism is weakened.
ndv asked, What impact will the UK attack have on NRI's and indirectly on Indian economy?
B.Raman answers, It won't have a generalised impact on the NRIs. Unfortunately, it could have an impact on our educated Muslims wanting to improve their prospects.
B.Raman says, Bye. Happy being with you all.
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