The bomb blasts that rocked two separate locations (an amusement park called Lumbini Park and a snack shop called Gokul Chat) in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, an up and coming IT hub, yesterday were the second in the space of a single year that its residents have seen. The first such blast took place in a local mosque called Mecca Masjid right after Friday prayers in May (exactly 100 days prior to this incident as one Desicritic and Hyderabadi points out).
But rest assured – the state government might be singularly clueless and unable to step up security measures even after becoming a terror target but it does have some deep pockets and tons of conjecture to offer.
“As things stand today, the available information points to the involvement of international terrorist organisations in Bangladesh and Pakistan,” Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy told reporters after an emergency meeting of the state cabinet.
Rejecting a suggestion that the near simultaneous blasts were a result of intelligence failure, Reddy said: “Most of the times, external terrorist organisations are responsible for such ghastly acts. The state government will not have the wherewithal to go into this sort of operations.”
“We cannot have intelligence networks in Bangladesh and Pakistan,” he said.
Methinks Mr. Reddy has been dipping into some old footage of Indira Gandhi’s. Remember those B-movies from the 70s that were full of the Foreign Hand? I mean, why is there trouble in India? It is the foreign hand. Why did the crops fail? It is the foreign hand. Why will the sun come out tomorrow? It is the foreign hand. Why did the chicken cross the road? It is the foreign hand.
Except dear old Ms. Gandhi was acting in a state that had very little access to the kind of information we have today. She didn’t have 50 gazillion television cameras getting in her face every time she so much as sneezed or 500 trigazillion reporters hungry to make their reputation on the backs of that one expose that the others couldn’t get. (Of course, she lost the election after the Emergency even without all that but that’s another story.)
So we have conflicting reports from investigating officers and Mr. Reddy’s own allies at the Centre.
“These are things that will not be openly discussed … we can comment when the investigation is complete,” Home Secretary Shivraj Patil said at a news conference in Hyderabad.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that militants from across the border are involved in some way. But it’s interesting that the Chief Minister’s first impulse after the blast was to find some way in which he and his government weren’t responsible for anything other than picking up the tab.
Buying people’s silence seems to be fast developing into an honored Indian political solution. Hey, Farmer Guy! Are you suicidal because the government hasn’t paid any attention to your needs since… well, forever? Here’s some money. Hey, Lower Caste Guy! Did some upper caste SOBs rape and murder your entire family? Here’s some money. What more could one ask for?
We shouldn’t really blame Mr. Reddy for his statements. He’s just giving us what we’re ready to take, year after year, time after time.
Oh, and I have to include this piece of information just because it made me grin in the middle of all the scowling I was doing above: Chennai police have apparently swung into action to save their city and jailed 720 people as a precautionary measure. So that’s where all the missing militants have been hiding out. At least they’re trying, right?