November Today in Terrorism

November 24, 2002: Gunmen storm Hindu temple in India

On November 24, 2002 members of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba stormed a Hindu temple in Jammu, India, killing 14 worshipers and wounding another 45

JAMMU, INDIA – It sometimes feels like a person cannot go to pray without some terrorist coming in to kill them.

Faith is a personal issue for many. Those who believe in a higher power take their beliefs seriously and seek to carry out devotions whenever they can. There is often a set of accompanying high levels of emotion too as the devotee seeks to fulfill a perceived need to express their creed.

Whether or not we agree with the faith in question there has long been agreement that places of worship are off limits to violent action. Whether it was the old notion of ‘sanctuary‘ or just an acknowledgement that people at prayer should be left alone, we generally saw these places as untouchable.

See that cross? It means NO violence here! (Photo: Thaddeus Roan on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Alas, terrorists do not seem to be on the same page as the rest of us.

On this day in 2002

Members of the Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) stormed a Hindu temple in Jammu, India, killing 14 worshipers and wounding another 45. Just the week prior Islamabad had released the LeT leader, infuriating neighbouring India.

Temples are soft targets. The terrorists who come from Pakistan want to spread panic and provoke religious violence.

Junior Indian Federal Minister ID Swami

Terrorists often like to portray themselves as heroes overcoming huge odds to fight, kill and die for a cause (the two LeT gunmen were shot dead by Indian security forces in this instance). So, just how ‘heroic‘ is an attack on unarmed temple goers?? I am waiting for an answer on THAT question.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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