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October Today in Terrorism

October 27, 2013: Bombings in India

Indian Islamist terrorists are believed to have been behind the 2013 bombings which targeted a BJP rally killing six and wounding dozens.

Indian Islamist terrorists are believed to have been behind the 2013 bombings which targeted a BJP rally killing six and wounding dozens.

PATNA, INDIA – Is it not ironic when one political extremist group is targeted for murder by another?

You have to hand it to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is a very, very popular man. First coming to power in 2014 when his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won an absolute majority in the Indian parliament, he achieved a second massive win five years later (2019) when the BJP took even more seats. Well done, well done!

Except that the BJP, and its behind-the-scenes partner the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is rapidly becoming a Hindu extremist party. The two are ardent Hindu nationalists, in a country with a sizeable Muslim minority and other faiths/ethnicities, and leading the charge for Hindu exclusivity. This is nationalism run rampant.

Narendra Modi: Hoardings across Mumbai turn spotlight on Narendra Modi's  Hindu nationalist remark - The Economic Times
Not very subtle, is he?

There have been many, many acts of violence carried out by Hindu extremists over the decades, including the assassination of legendary Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, by a Hindu extremist.

Having said that, there have also been many attacks by Islamist extremists in India, some of which have featured in this series (such as the mass casualty Mumbai attacks in 2008). Hindu extremists point to Islamist extremism as one of the reasons why they want an exclusively Hindu state.

Is it ironic then (NB I am not sure ‘irony’ is the right term here) that jihadis attacked a BJP rally in 2013? On this day a series of bombings at BJP events (this was before they – and Modi – came to power in India) in Patna claimed six lives and wounded another 83 people. Authorities blamed the ‘Indian Mujahideen’, a terrorist group tied to another terrorist group, Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

All deaths at the hands of violent extremists are to be condemned, regardless of the cause. And yet we see an escalating battle between Hindu and Islamist terrorists in India that shows no signs of ebbing. How does one say ‘an eye for an eye’ in Hindi?

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Programme Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of five books on terrorism.

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