At the Delhi launch of 26/11 Stories of Strength, a book by The Indian Express, former Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said the Pulwama attack was a “last desperate attempt” by Pakistan’s ISI to “hit at Indian interest”.
The book, edited by Associate Editor Kavitha Iyer and published by Penguin Random House, comprises “10 accounts of families who either lost a family member in the terror attack or those who were touched by terror but responded with resilience,” said Iyer, at the Shri Ram College of Commerce on Saturday.
“We were surprised that none of the people who we met eight years later were talking about wanting revenge or retribution. Rather than dealing with their grief with anger, responding with violence or baying for blood, many spoke about the wider context of their personal loss, that we need to respond with humanity if we want to continue living with dignity. These were stories of great resilience,” she said.
“Some stories are about individual families — like that of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the NSG Major who laid down his life; the family of a Mumbai constable who leapt on to a terrorist — it was his sacrifice that not only led to the arrest of one terrorist but also the conspiracy being proven across the border,” she said. There is also a chapter on women who lost their husbands to the terror attack, and were given jobs by the Railways.
Speaking about the Pulwama attack, Kumar said, “This appears to me at least to be a desperate last attempt of ISI and ISI-sponsored terrorists to hit at the Indian interest, because even in the Valley, terrorism was being brought under control, almost the last groups or modules of terrorists were being killed, and this one event has upset the entire balance and suddenly we have a situation where the relation between us and our neighbour has become very, very hostile.”
He said Pakistan as a state is a problem, not its citizens. “If you meet a Pakistani across the border, he’s just like us… As a state, country, Pakistan has been declared as a rogue state not just for India but for the world… Pakistan as a state is the problem, individual Pakistanis are not,” he added.
JNU associate professor Happymon Jacob said, “positive politics” was needed to defeat terrorism.
“I do understand that the state needs to behave in a particular way and Pakistan is a problem, but where you need to use politics, you can’t use bullets. I am a firm believer, after having studied in Kashmir for around 20 years, that Kashmir is a place where you need to use politics. The 2004-08 politics bears example to that,” he said.
SRCC Principal Simrit Kaur said the country’s GDP could grow by 13 per cent if there was no terror. “Terror is not just about the psychological and emotional aspect. There is a huge development cost to terrorism,” she said.