Ever since the National Investigation Agency filed chargesheets against five Indian Mujahideen (IM) leaders for their alleged involvement in hatching a conspiracy to carry out terror strikes in the country, leaders of the ruling Congress have stepped up their attempts to give a communal twist to the debate on terrorism by linking the birth of IM to post-Godhra riots in Gujarat through a Twitter war. This is a dangerous trend which can derail India’s war against terror. The IM and its precursor, SIMI, had been formed with the overt backing of Pakistan’s ISI and IM operatives have proven direct links with Pakistan-based terror outfits which provide them finance and logistical support.
Outfits like IM, which are responsible for the murder of innocents through bomb blasts, deserve no sympathy and the state must fight them with all its might. In a belated realisation that the move might backfire, the Congress has on Monday tried to distance itself by saying that these were individual opinions of the leaders that did not reflect the party’s official position. In his address to the party’s media managers, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has also warned them not to go beyond the party line or cross the boundaries of civilised discourse.
The advice is timely as the political temperature is rising during the run-up to state assembly elections this year and Lok Sabha elections in 2014. And so is the proclivity of political opponents to use intemperate language against each other. It is in the interest of the country and its democratic polity that political discourse should be centred on policies and agenda and not lead to attacks on individuals and personalities. It is equally imperative that neither the ruling nor the opposition parties seek to extract political mileage on issues of national security or unity of the country by resorting to divisive discourse of the type that came to the fore during attempts to provide a communal justification for terror outfits like IM.