Safeguarding borders against terrorists

Thursday’s meeting between Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with administrative heads of West Bengal and the North-Eastern States on plugging the borders to prevent easy egress and ingress of smugglers, gun-runners, cattle smugglers and terrorists must be considered a success as all the participants agreed on the steps to be taken. Jihadi terrorists are trying to take advantage of the porous borders of the region. With local assistance they are making voter cards, aadhar cards, ration cards, PAN cards and even passports. They are freely smuggling arms and explosives, setting up sleeper cells and endangering the security of this region. The Home Minister has spelt out the series of steps that the Centre has decided to take in cooperation with the concerned State Governments. Fencing the still unfenced border with Bangladesh contiguous to West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya is one of these. The frequency with which Bangladeshi citizens possessing fake passports are being caught at the Dum Dum airport is a matter of concern.
At the same time it should be borne in mind that the communal situation prevailing in Bangladesh and India also make it easy or difficult for the terrorists to operate and recruit. If Muslims in India, particularly in the States bordering Bangladesh, feel insecure and threatened, it creates a situation for the jihadi to win support and sympathy. If Bangladesh is not alert and vigilant enough against terrorists operating in its soil, they pose a threat to both Bangladesh and India. Security cooperation between Bangladesh authorities and those at the Centre and in the north-eastern States of India like tracking the movement of suspected terrorists and identifying their local sympathizers, etc., is essential. The greater the success in identifying terrorists and their supporters this side, the less will the ordinary Muslims suffer from a fear complex that they may be harassed on suspicion. Targeting innocent Muslims for no fault of theirs (like the murder of a construction worker from Malda in Rajasthan) can only weaken the war on the actual terrorists. It is to be always borne in mind that communalism of one community feeds the communalism of the other community.

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017