Yet another encounter death has stirred up political controversy, proving once again how difficult it is for intelligence agencies and law enforcers to hunt down terror suspects in this country. On Tuesday morning last, an IED blast at Bhopal-Ujjain Express left ten passengers injured, setting off a massive police manhunt across several states. The Madhya Pradesh police intercepted a bus in Hoshangabad district and bbed suspects; the Anti-Terror Squad of Uttar Pradesh soon made arrests in Kanpur and Etawah, after receiving specific inputs from their counterparts in Telanga and MP. This was followed by an operation in Lucknow on Wednesday, which ended with the death of Saifullah, identified as the military head of the UP unit of Jund-ul-Khalifa-ul-Hind, an Islamic State-inspired jihadi outfit. He is said to have been on the radar of NIA sleuths for over a year, after disclosures made by the outfit’s arrested chief. During the siege, ATS commandos are learnt to have made Saifullah’s brother talk to him, but to no avail, and was then shot down as he continued firing. When a wire was noticed wrapped around him, the bomb squad had to be called in. This is an example of effective inter-state coordited effort, based on continuing investigation into earlier terror acts and surveillance of known and suspected operatives. It is not every day in India that perpetrators of a train bombing are caught within 48 hours; it is encouraging to see security agencies of different states swiftly exchanging crucial information to take out terror cells proliferating across the country. But what some Congress leaders saw in this operation was an attempt by some political quarters to influence the Uttar Pradesh elections, which ended on Wednesday. There was senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh calling upon the NDA government at the Centre ‘to be more inclusive’ while warning: “This is a wake-up call for the government not to aliete the Muslims when it comes to providing equal rights and opportunity.”
It is reprehensible when loony elements of the saffron brigade seek to administer the tiolism test to Indian Muslims, creating an atmosphere in which our Muslim citizens have to prove their patriotism again and again. It is equally condemble when parties like the Congress go out of their way to ratiolize jihadi terror and wear their pro-Pakistan sentiments on the sleeve, as if it will make Muslims in India happy. To both these misguided camps, Saifullah’s father can teach a lesson. Refusing to accept Saifullah’s body, father Sartaj fighting back his grief, said firmly: “A traitor cannot be related to me, let alone be my son. I have nothing to do with a man who did not belong to his country. We are Indian citizens. I was born here, my ancestors were born here.” A worker in the leather trade, Sartaj had high hopes of his son before he dropped out of B.Com studies. UP police believe he went online and came in contact with toxic IS propaganda, becoming self-radicalised like many other youths of his community, particularly after the Gujarat riots in 2002. Urging parents to monitor what their children are viewing online, Maula Azad University chancellor Zafar Sareshwala has warned: “We, as parents, need to be vigilant as to what kind of materials our children unknowingly access on the Web. Lot of brainwashing is being permeated by falsehood and misrepresentation of religious texts on the Internet.” These are grave concerns that many parents share; their sorrow is terrible when their offspring go badly wayward. They need support and understanding, not the self-serving talk of politicians with their divisive agendas. As for law-enforcers and security personnel, they too need all support in going after crimils and terrorists to keep the society safe. Playing politics with their courageous efforts is shameful and against the entire country’s interests.