//Analysis: Terror goal is to cause riots

Analysis: Terror goal is to cause riots

By Kushal Jeena Jun 2, 2006, 16:46 GMT

NEW DELHI, India (UPI) — The attempted terror attack at the headquarters of the ultra-Hindu Rashtray Swayamsevak Sangh was aimed at fanning large-scale communal riots in India to create anarchy and disorder, Indian political analysts said Friday.

'The foiled terror attack at RSS headquarters at Nagpur was part of a conspiracy to fan widespread communal riots between majority Hindus and minority Muslims as the RSS, its philosophy and role in fanning communal flames in India are well-known,' said Anand K. Sahay, a senior political analyst.
Sahay said that despite knowing the RSS` communal history, a democratic polity such as India does not fight fire with fire and gives the responsibility of countering such strikes to the federal and provincial governments.

In their gunning down of all three militants involved, Sahay said, the provincial police forces have proved they have the courage and ability to foil such attacks.

The foiled attack on the RSS headquarters at Nagpur early Thursday was not unexpected. Security forces reportedly reacted swiftly and gunned down all three militants, whose attempt to fool the police by dressing in police uniform and travelling in a car with a beacon was thwarted when they were challenged at a police barricade.

'The terrorists attempted to drive a white ambassador car towards (RSS headquarters) shortly before dawn. When guards at the perimeter of the three-level security cordon flagged down the car, its driver attempted to crash through the barriers,' the police said.

K.S. Sudershan, chief of the RSS, a pro-Hindu fundamentalist organization that backs India`s main Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party, and other top functionaries were present in the building at the time of the attempted strike.

The Indian Intelligence Bureau said all three intruders were Pakistani nationals, but failed to give details of their identities.

'We had reason to believe that an operation of this kind was being planned and asked the Nagpur police to be prepared,' the IIB said.

The attempt came a day after the interior secretaries of India and Pakistan concluded talks vowing to eliminate terrorism. Indian security and intelligence agencies have held the pro-Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba responsible for Thursday`s attempt.

Indian agencies arrived at this conclusion because in the past LeT have demonstrated their ability to execute suicide-squad attacks at various sites important from economic, religious or technological points of view.

In July last year LeT carried out a similar attack at a Hindu temple at Varanasi. In the same month, operatives of another militant outfit — Jaish-e-Mohammed — attempted to storm makeshift temple at the controversial Babri mosque site in northern Ayodhya, using tactics similar to those demonstrated in Nagpur.

Warnings given to security personnel thwarted the attempts, however.

'The manner in which the three militants planned to execute their attack — by driving in white ambassador fitted with a red beacon — seems amateurish and pointed to a trend of copycat attacks noticed from 2003,' said Interior Secretary Vinod Kumar Duggal, who has just returned from Islamabad.

The Intelligence Bureau last year received information that three LeT suicide squad had been sent to India — one to attack the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun, another to strike at an Information Technology company in Bangalore and the third to hit the RSS headquarters.

The first two groups were eliminated and the third has gone underground. Whether or not it was they who tried to attack the RSS headquarters, India`s police and intelligence agencies are investigating it as a possible angle.

Ironically, the terror strike was carried out on the day India and Pakistan issued a joint statement after the home secretary-level talks in Islamabad calling for, among other things, the total elimination of terrorism.

'Pakistan will probably publicly condemn the latest act. But privately, its posture on terrorism remains deeply disturbing,' the Indian Interior Ministry has said.

'The existence of training camps for Kashmiri militants in Pak-held Kashmir is well-known, but by giving the LeT a free rein, Pakistan is not merely supporting the alleged Kashmiri freedom struggle, but terrorism across India,' Sahay said.

Sahay said it is evident from the targets the LeT has selected, which are not only military or economic facilities, but also those that will trigger large-scale communal violence across India. That was the goal of last July`s foiled attack on the makeshift temple for Lord Ram at the site of the demolished Babri mosque in Ayodhya.

The two major terror outfits active in India, LeT and JeM, have of late successfully expanded their infrastructure in the western and southern parts of the country by enrolling their operatives in madarasas in the riot-affected provinces of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Nagpur, where the attack took place Thursday, is the winter capital of Maharashtra, the financial hub of the country.

'The terrorists, particularly from Hyderabad, Maharashtra and Gujarat, have during interrogations pointed out how the Gujarat riots led them to believe that there was an anti-Muslim atmosphere in India,' said Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner of the branch of Delhi police that interrogates captured militants.

Intelligence agencies in Pakistan, an Interior Ministry official said, are keeping a close watch on Gujarat under BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who has been held responsible for anti-Muslim riots in 2002 that killed more than 1,000 Muslims.

'Every development impacting minorities is watched there and used to incite disgruntled members in the community,' Kumar told United Press International.

The demolition of an ancient mosque in northern Uttar Pradesh by Hindu zealots and riots in Gujarat have helped militants recruit young Muslims, as they were made to believe that widespread anti-Muslim feeling existed in India.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International