Open border worries
Acclaimed abroad for her liberal policy towards refugees, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is beginning to face the heat at home. Over 11 lakh refugees sought asylum in Germany last year, and in places, they were welcomed by local communities. But the public mood has darkened after a series of attacks by migrants, most recently in the state of Bavaria where an Afghan teeger armed with an axe rampaged through a train compartment before he was shot dead by police, and a failed Syrian asylum seeker who triggered a suicide blast near a music festival. The problem of homegrown, self-radicalized jihadis has got the German police authority highly worried, with calls for permission to use greater force. Special anti-terror police units and cyber crime cells will be formed, as part of added spending on security by over 2 billion euros. There is more bad news coming from the Syrian and Iraqi terror fronts, with around one-third of over 800 ISIS fighters from Germany believed to have returned home. Considering the mayhem such battle hardened jihadis have brought upon France, German security experts are making their own threat projections. The country’s Interior minister has now unveiled tougher anti-terror measures, including proposals to strip German citizenship from citizens with dual tiolity fighting for terror groups, and speeding up deportation for those convicted. This is in line with French President Francois Hollande’s proposal to strip convicted terrorists of their French tiolity, which however ran into opposition that the move would create stateless persons. With general elections in Germany slated for autumn next year, mainstream political parties are anxiously watching the inroads far right groups have begun to make among the electorate. The impression gaining ground is that, as in Britain and the US, the patience of common voters in Germany is running thin with ‘politically correct’ leaders espousing open borders.