London’s terror hit: Learn from the Brits

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Mar 24, 2017, 12:37 am IST
Updated Mar 24, 2017, 6:58 am IST
The known facts so far are that four people are dead and 29 injured, seven critically.
A man is treated by emergency services, as knives lie on the floor, with police looking on at the scene outside the Houses of Parliament London. (Photo: AP)
 A man is treated by emergency services, as knives lie on the floor, with police looking on at the scene outside the Houses of Parliament London. (Photo: AP)

The British authorities are treating the criminal events near Parliament in London on Wednesday as a “terrorist” incident, but haven’t called it terrorism yet. The official ambiguity continued a day later, but the facts at hand are such that no other inference suggests itself. If in the French Riviera last year, a terrorist ploughed a truck into people in a crowded place, in London a vehicle went aiming for pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, a stone’s throw from Parliament and a major tourist attraction. Evidently, the police noted the open attack on innocent civilians, some of whom were foreign tourists, was done on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack in Belgium. The police has steadfastly refused to name those involved. We also don’t know yet if the man who drove the car on Westminster Bridge and the one who knifed a policeman to death and was then shot dead by the police are the same person.

The known facts so far are that four people are dead and 29 injured, seven critically. The fatalities could mount. Perhaps it’s because counter-terrorism measures in the West have become tight and efficient, terrorists are just trying to do everyday things — which wouldn’t arouse suspicion — with the motive of giving effect to their desperate need to resort to propaganda by deed. While the identities of the terrorists or their accomplices haven’t yet been made public, a top London newspaper has revealed the name of a British man who converted to Islam several years ago. Whether he was self-radicalised or was part of a cell isn’t known yet, though the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack, which it said was carried out by its “soldier”. Overnight police arrests were made in West Midlands area, that has a high concentration of people of Pakistani origin. It’s too early of course to speak of a Pakistani link, though nothing can be ruled out as a large number of terrorist incidents across the world in recent years had a Pakistani connection.

 

One thing is clear. While Western powers don’t think twice about showing their muscle, declaring sanctions and no-fly zones, they have done all too little to push for a successful conclusion to framing a global protocol on curbing terrorism at the UN. The United States is the big culprit here. In vain, India has pleaded for greater global cooperation so that terror networks and finance links are disrupted. Meanwhile, the way the British have gone about dealing with Wednesday’s events without a fuss should serve as a lesson to India’s politicians, police and media. There has been no finger-pointing, publicity-grabbing, credit-seeking or dramatising of the story. Can we learn something from this?

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