Recent reports from India note a disturbing rise in violence following the recent terrorist activity in Mumbai in November 2008.
What happened in Mumbai was inexcusable and merits utter condemnation. All parties must work together to bring those behind such atrocities to justice. There is absolutely no question about that. The militant madrassahs and other centres that train such terrorists – whether in Pakistan or anywhere else – and those who fund them, must be exposed and their leaders and proponents held to account for the sake of national and international peace.
Governments must become more vigilant in ensuring that extremism has no place to hide and flourish – this is no time for half-measures and certainly no time for half-truths. To achieve this without further escalating the problem between the nuclear neighbours would be a notable success not just for Mumbai but also for the worldwide struggle against extremism.
Similarly the violent reaction to Mumbai in some quarters, where Muslims and Christians have been subjected to violence, is also inexcusable and threatens the social fabric of India. This is a time for people to stand united and not give in to tlynch mob desires for revenge and retribution. It is a time for society to say that no matter what, we will not throw away our hard-earned peace and play into the terrorists’ hands who so desperately desire anarchy and lawlessness.
To permit such violence and turn a blind eye to it would do untold damage to the peace of the whole nation. India on the whole has a proud history of peaceful co-existence and Indians must stand united against the common enemy that is the modern-day terrorist. The best way that this can be done is to uphold the law, promote mutual respect and ensure that people of all faiths can live in peace and security.
The Government and authorities have a particularly challenging task, but if they can lead the way in providing security for all, then half of the battle is already won.
As has been said many times over in the past by many faith leaders – no religion promotes violence or murder – so let not the activities of a few ruthless terrorists fracture and destroy the peace of a nation. Both India and Pakistan need their citizens to be loyal and stand united and the citizens need their Governments and authorities to protect them all and dispense absolute justice. It is not a time for these nuclear countries to be trigger happy.
Only then can the countries prevent themselves from free-falling into the vicious circle of violence and revenge that has destroyed so many generations before the world over.