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The arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, the most wanted Indian terrorist and founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) from India-Nepal border on Wednesday is...

The arrest of Yasin Bhatkal, the most wanted Indian terrorist and founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) from India-Nepal border on Wednesday is certainly another feather in the cap of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for having been carried out within a month of the arrest of Abdul Karim Tunda, believed to be associated with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). That Bhatkal carried rewards from police for information about his whereabouts adds to the importance of his arrest. But by far the most gratifying news is that Tunda had provided Indian intelligence agencies with vital information about Bhatkal.

Right from the day of his arrest, it had been known that Tunda had been cooperating with Indian intelligence agencies in identifying the location of Dawood Ibrahim, et al, who are wanted for bombings in India. But nobody had suspected that the cooperation had gone even to the extent of providing a tip-off about the movements of other terrorists. If Indian intelligence agencies adopt the strategy evolved by the NIA, that of winning over arrested terrorists to their side and making them reveal vital information about those of their ilk operating either from India or from Pakistan or from some third country, instead of just keeping them for years in jail, India can certainly smash the terrorist network.

Bhatkal is accused of having masterminded the bomb blasts that occurred in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad, among other Indian cities, in which several innocent people were killed. He also provides a rare opportunity to Indian authorities to subject him to psychoanalysis to find out what it is in the first instance that motivates highly educated young men to agree to work against India. Bhatkal, like many others, including his two brothers who fled to Pakistan when they were about to be apprehended, was born and brought up in India, and in pretty affluent circumstances, at that. Therefore, it looks highly unlikely that lure of money worked in their cases because they already had more than enough of it.

Crusades, ‘jihad’ and religious animosity can have little appeal for educated youths while one can understand the ease with which Hindu and Muslim communal leaders persuade poor and illiterate masses into believing that one religion or another is in danger in India, and that they are destined to be its saviours! Then what is the psychological mechanism that drives rich and educated youths to terrorism? Once that is understood, it will not be difficult for Indian authorities to profile potential terrorists. Again, while no mercy need be shown to proven and convicted terrorists, such as Ajmal Kasab, the tendency to dub all and sundry as terrorists, put them in jail until courts find them innocent and release them, should be curbed.
Even if 99 guilty persons get away, one innocent person should not be punished: that is the basic premise on which all laws are based. It does not mean that the guilty should be allowed to get away (though, God knows how many guilty politicians are getting away with crimes, if necessary by amending laws and nullifying judgments of courts); it only means that the basic human rights of innocent citizens be honoured. In the case of both Bhatkal and Tunda the law will take its own course, but, meanwhile, authorities should spare no effort to nab the Dawood Ibrahims and Hafiz Saeeds.
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