Bangladeshi police have detained a man suspected of organizing a bomb attack on a mosque in Hyderabad in May and providing support for bombings in August. The detained man was described as a member of the Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI), a Bangladeshi Jihadi group . If the detention in Bangladesh got Indian news outlets all excited the jubilation was shortlived with doubts being raised on his extradition. Mohd Sharifuddin or Abu Hamza is believed to have been recruited by Bilal – the HUJI commander who police believe is the mastermind of the Hyderabad attacks.

Meanwhile the investigations in Hyderabad have taken a curious turn with a focus on missing RDX. Hyderabad police commissioner Balwinder Singh says it is not just Hyderabad that needs to be worried about unaccounted for RDX. According to him, the 10 kg RDX that is believed to have been smuggled in there from Bangladesh in February could now be anywhere. The city police have registered a case of criminal conspiracy against 15 people but the RDX and the blasts accused remain elusive. The Bangalore Police meanwhile have contributed their bit as well to the larger than life image of Bilal by accusing him of masterminding the December 28, 2005, IISc attack too.  A Home Ministry official today also said the state governments have been asked to tell their police force to keep a surveillance at religious places or places where there is a large crowd like at markets and shopping malls in view of tomorrow`s Janmashthami and Ganesh Chaturthi festival later this month.

Its been over a week since the Hyderabad Blasts and the whodunit guessing game continues with Bangladeshi outfit HUJI emerging at the epicenter of all speculation. Offstumped takes a hard look at the motives behind the wave of terror in India over the last 3 years.

Nitin in his latest piece takes on The Economist for its alarmist analysis of the Hyderabad blasts. Offstumped however is not fully convinced about the “Outbreak of Communal Riots” hypothesis to explain the rather orphaned nature of this wave of terror with no attributable motive and no claims of responsibility. The “Outbreak of Communal Riots” hypothesis has far too much conventional wisdom invested in it and neither history nor current facts fully bear this hypothesis out.

It must be noted that there is no history of a terrorist attack having triggered a communal riot India to date. Neither the fedayeen attacks on high value religious targets like Akshardham and Ayodhya nor the anonymous blasts in Varnasi or Mecca Masjid have triggered any major riot. Not even the deliberate targeting of Muslims in Malegaon, Hyderabad and Attari Express triggered riots. In fact one can safely conclude there exists no correlation between spectacular attacks of mass terror and widespread outbreak of communal riots to date. If there is any correlation it is the opposite as is evident in the alleged logic offered by the Leftwing activists to rationalize the 1993 Mumbai blasts as a reaction to the 1992-1993 Mumbai riots.

Secondly it must also be noted that the threshold to trigger mob violence in India is rather low and does not require a co-ordinated strike that relies heavily on precision and timing to cause maximum causalities. The recent events in Agra are a good example of what little it takes to provoke a riot. There are far cheaper ways to trigger a riot if that was all one wanted to. The mere defiling of an idol or statue was enough to provoke riots in some parts of the country from Ambedkar to Anna Durai. The mere news of hanging of Saddam Hussein was enough to mobilize and provoke violence. 

Thirdly anyone well versed in the history of cycles of communal violence in Hyderabad in 1980s would know that almost all of them were triggered around the 10 day Ganesh festival. To pick a secular day, a weekend at that and secular targets hardly explains the communal riot motive. The perpetrators could have easily waited 3 more weeks and achieved both objectives.

It maybe argued that the perpetrators are innovating in the hope of eventually triggering such widespread outbreak of riots. But let us examine the chronology here. Starting from the twin car bombs in Mumbai of December 2003 to the latest events in Hyderabad of 2007 it has been 4 years and more than 10 terrorists attacks, fedayeen and anonymous.

That must be one very patient terrorist who is in it for the long haul for none of the more than 10 attacks came anywhere close to fulfilling their alleged objective of spreading communal discord.

For a while the derailing of India-Pakistan peace moves was offered as a hypothesis. One doesn’t hear much of it these days as the peace moves have hit the pause button pending the political uncertainty in Islamabad.

So what is the undercurrent here that is triggering periodic attacks of mass terror with no rush to own not even the slightest desire to be associated with on the record.

For the sake of argument Offstumped is discarding the hypothesis that there is no common link to this wave of terror and that these were all un-coordinated acts of terror by autonomous groups.

So if we were to work with the hypothesis that there is a common link it is reasonable to assume that for this common link to have persisted with its strategy over the last 4 years there must be some measure of long term success the immediate body count notwithstanding.

If one were to further extend this line of thinking the one common after effect of the terrorist attacks has been the media allegation of unfair profiling of Muslim Youth bolstered by Left Wing Activism. Somewhere between police high handedness and media activism the profiling is feeding on disenchantment and the disenchantment is in turn feeding on even greater profiling. This vicious cycle of localized incidents of profiling feeding on media magnified disenchantment and vice-versa is perhaps making for a fertile recruiting ground one radicalized mind at a time.

Is this the long term project that justifies a more than 4 year long wait while demanding complete anonymity ?

It is not the immediate outbreak of communal riots that is worrying but it is the radicalization of the disenchanted mind that is of greater concern. The riots we can detect and control but the radicalization we have no measure of.

Offstumped Bottomline: Indian Muslims must stand up to lead this war on terror by taking steps to arrest the radicalization before it assumes cancerous proportions.

The hunt for RDX is best limited to explosives and must not be allowed to become the hunt for the unknown(X) RaDicalized mind.

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