Many faces of terror

December 30, 2014 12:36 am | Updated November 16, 2021 04:48 pm IST

Sometimes, terror is its own purpose. Militant groups with an identifiable cause often claim responsibility for their acts or choose their targets carefully. But those behind Sunday’s low-intensity explosion in Bengaluru that indiscriminately targeted ordinary people in a crowded public place have chosen to remain anonymous so far. The bomb blast, which claimed the life of a woman from Chennai who was on a visit to Bengaluru, was clearly intended to spread fear and set off panic, rather than send any specific political message. The aim seems to have been to create a feeling of insecurity among the city’s residents, and invite greater, harsh policing. This is not the first time >Bengaluru has been subjected to a terror attack of this nature. Such low-intensity blasts are suspected to be the handiwork of local networks of extremists with limited material resources and logistics support. Investigators see similarities with the blast on board a Bengaluru-originating train arriving at the Chennai Central station, in which activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India, who escaped from the Khandwa jail last year, were believed to be involved. While it is too early to pinpoint responsibility, the fact remains that India-based terror modules have chosen Bengaluru for repeated attacks. While New Delhi and Mumbai have seen attacks with the involvement of organisations from across the border, most of the explosions in Bengaluru have been traced back to Indian groups such as those of Abdul Nasir Maudany or Al Umma or the Indian Mujahideen. The exception was the shooting at the Indian Institute of Science during an international conference, exactly nine years ago, which was carried out by Indians supposedly with links to the Laskhar-e-Toiba.

Whether the blast was intended to protest the >arrest of the pro-Islamic State tweeter in Bengaluru , would be known only after further investigation. But, Bengaluru, a city with a large floating population, with workers drawn from different parts of the country, is surely growing too big and diverse for conventional policing. True, it is difficult to prevent terrorists picking soft targets. Intelligence inputs on the possibility of such attacks are usually vague and non-actionable. A separate intelligence information cadre, as proposed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, could help in data surveillance, and in tracking online activities of suspects, but whether this could in itself help prevent similar attacks on soft targets is another matter altogether. The Bengaluru police, which have had remarkable success in apprehending the perpetrators in these attacks, might need to adopt problem-oriented policing to prevent terror crimes with a greater level of success.

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