ISIS has taken responsibility for the attack. India is in a difficult position. We cannot remain indifferent.
Last Sunday, nine Muslim suicide bombers killed 253 men, women and children, wounded more than 500 in Colombo and other cities of Sri Lanka. The targets were mostly poor Christians attending Easter Sunday services.
As I have written earlier, almost all terrorists are Muslims, but all Muslims are not terrorists. Unfortunately, terrorism is now associated with Islam. Many murderous attacks have been made on churches and mosques. The only country in the world that has successfully combated terrorism is Israel. It practises instant tit for tat.
The present Sri Lankan government is a house divided. The Prime Minister and the President loathe each other. According to one newspaper report, the intelligence that India conveyed to the President of Sri Lanka, Maitripala Sirisena, that a terrorist attack was imminent was apparently not shared by him with Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremsinghe. No lessons were learnt from the Christchurch mosque killing a few days back.
The ISIS has taken responsibility of the Sri Lankan outrages. The ISIS in Sri Lanka operates through an organisation called National Thowheed Jamath. In other words, Jihad bi-al Qatil has appeared on the shores of the palm fringed island.
So far all that the President has done is to remove the Defence Secretary, Hemasiri Fernando and asked the police chief to quit. However, the Defence Secretary remains in his post till a substitute is found. What a way to deal with such a terrible an emergency!
Islamophobia is now a global phenomenon. It cannot be wished away. It cannot be easily annihilated. Perhaps it could be contained and confined to some extent. All religions have to co-exist. We must at the same time not forget that even China and Russia have been unable to control Islamists’ activities.
India is in an excessively difficult position. Yet, we cannot, for security and other reasons remain indifferent. Our experience in sending troops to Sri Lanka to annihilate the LTTE in the 1980s was a near disaster. Our dilemma is, damned if you do, demand if you don’t.
Sri Lanka is strategically located in the Indian Ocean. China has now become a major factor in the affairs of the island. Our stakes too are high. The most sophisticated and skilful diplomacy is the need of the hour. We lack neither. Our hands are tied. We are in the midst of our Lok Sabha elections. The outcome will not be known till 23 May.
The Ahmediyas, who after being expelled from Pakistan as non-Muslims, took refuge in Sri Lanka are how being asked to leave. Where do they go?
Sri Lanka’s economy is, to a large extent, dependent on tourism. This has now received a body blow. It will take a long time before tourists venture to return to enjoy themselves on the unique beaches of the island.
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Last week I read a gripping and distressing book, The Race to Save the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport, an English historian with an extraordinary expertise on the end of the Romanov dynasty in 1918. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his Tsarina, Alexandra Feodorovna, were solely responsible for the terrible end of the 300-year-old Romanov throne. Nicholas was a decent and good man, but he was under the thumb of his wife, who believed in the divine right of kings. She was a dedicated reactionary, totally oblivious of the forces governing the 20th century. Nicholas, his semi-demented wife and five children were executed by Bolshevik Red Guards at Ekaterinburg, in 1918 on the specific orders of V.I. Lenin.
This is a book worth reading and possessing.