As if forced habit – courtesy a military captain for a father – I had got up early every day.
The verbal duels at the park reserved for exercising, where an army of housewives and children would gather as early as 4 in the morning, was always welcome. It helped me vile away time while I held my science text book in front of my sleepy eyes.
That fateful day, the discussion sounded different. There was fear in it. The words were first dipped in deep anguish and then gift-wrapped with emotion. Something big had happened. I pressed my ears between the rusted iron bars of my window, and heard it. It was 21st of May 1991. Rajiv Gandhi had been assasinated by LTTE.
That was my first encounter with terrorism. I had seen Rajiv Gandhi on TV. The charisma. The magnetism. As a school going kid, politics and policies did not matter but personalities did. Since then terrorists have enamoured me. The curiosity in me increased over the years and today has taken the form of this piece.
LTTE, which was founded one year after I was born (founded in 1976), unlike me, has come a long way. This most powerful Tamil group in Sri Lanka uses overt and illegal methods to raise funds, acquire weapons, and publicize its cause of establishing an independent Tamil state.
In the course of its still unfinished struggle a LTTE suicide bomber had assassinated Rajiv Gandhi – my idol of the day.
At the cost of sounding dark, the kudos for most number of suicide attacks goes to HAMAS, the Palestinian Islamic resistance Movement. With the goal of establishing an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel, this terrorist outfit has numerous attacks to its credit. Most of them against Israeli civilian and military targets, not to mention some US buildings.
Talking of buildings one can easily drift to Osama Bin Laden for the only reason that he was a builder before he took to bombing them. Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM), formerly known as Harakat al-Ansar is one of the many outfits that has his blessings. Based in Pakistan, this group operates in Kashmir and over the years has become a perpetual headache for the Indian Governments. It was HUM that hijacked an Indian Airliner to Kandahar on Dec 24 last year and sought the release of Azhar, a dreaded terrorist in this part of the world.
Besides playing Marlyn Brando to a few small outfits, Osama Bin Ladin has something that he can call his own. Established in the late 1980s Al-Qaida is an outfit that hopes to establish a pan-Islamic order throughout the world by working with allied Islamic extremist groups to overthrow regimes it deems ‘non-Islamic.`
Bin Ladin, who was a builder before he went on to head Al-Qaida, has supposedly unearthed affection for buildings after a lull of 15 years. Only this time his is the hand that destroys, or so we think.