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'The terrorists have failed to aggravate the communal divide'

September 10, 2007

At his office in the Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi's South Block, India's National Security Adviser M K Narayanan discussed the challenges posed to the country by terrorism after the August 25 twin blasts in Hyderabad. An exclusive intrerview with's Nikhil Lakshman.

What is your assessment of the terror situation in the country? Are we going to see a terrorism that is much more focused, much more relentless?

I think it is an evolving situation. Over a period of time terrorism which was largely confined to certain areas, were referred to as conflict prone zones -- Jammu and Kashmir, the North-East has now moved to heartland states, Hyderabad and Bangalore, parts of Eastern UP and, of course, Delhi are very much in the crosshairs of the terrorists. It is part of the wider visibility, the higher profile, the greater propaganda that these attacks achieve. The mood in the terrorist camp is that more violence will get them greater traction.

What then is the ultimate aim of the terrorists?

I don't think the terrorists have any aim except to spread terror. I don't think they have a particular motive except to kill people. Take the Hyderabad blasts. Almost 50 per cent of those who died are Muslim. You can't really make the point that it (the blasts) was directed against a particular community. And this has been the case for all the terrorist incidents (in India). I don't think any particular community are the target.

You might try to rationalise this (the blasts), saying it is being done because of Iraq, because of Gujarat, because of something else. I think there is absolutely no rationale for terrorism.

Are these terrorist attacks meant to destabilise India?

The terrorists may think so, but I don't think nations can be destabilised by individual acts of terrorism.

What the terrorists have failed (to do) -- so far at least -- is to aggravate the communal divide. The communities -- whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian -- have not been provoked into any pogrom of the kind that we saw in Gujarat. Gujarat, therefore, I see, as a total aberration.

There is also a far greater degree of understanding now that we should not be provoked by individual acts of terror.

Photograph: Relatives weep over the bodies of Srilekha, 18, Susheela, 35 and Sravanthi, 14, members of the same family who died in the blast at the Gokul Chat House on August 25. Photograph: Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

Also read: Terror in Hyderabad


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