The need for a strong and effective internal security mechanism is no longer a matter of choice. It has become a necessity. Lack of public awareness on internal security can lead the country on a path to banana republic.

The spate of bomb blasts and other terror activities in Mumbai and elsewhere may be clinically analysed as a low intensity device not intended to cause much harm or a minor incidence intended to disturb the communal situation. But the truth is it is in continuation of an act of terror activity that has reinforced a feeling of despair and hopelessness already pervading throughout the country. The magnitude of the terror problems increases on the face of poor governance and mounting charges of corruption.

Total lack of governance and apathy of the authorities coupled with corruption and exploitation has resulted in Maoist terror that has so far spread to about 230 out of 605 districts in the country. Although the Maoist-Naxal terror is camouflaged as ideological warfare, it has a larger footprint in all the aspects of the society, from political to social, from cultural to religious and economic.

Not a day passes without the statement of those in the PMO describing terrorism as the biggest threat. Yet it is surprising that known sympathizers of the Maoists and terrorists are not only going scot free, but are also accorded official status and political support. From the case of Binayak Sen it is clear that what the law enforcing agencies gain is lost in the courts due to government’s interference. Another area where the government and the investigating agencies have faulted is the terror unleashed by our inimical neighbour. Yet the government insists on continuing with the composite dialogue process even while the Pakistani side makes it amply clear that they care two hoots for our concern for the cross border terrorism.

Ironically, while the world wants India to take a strong step in ending terror, our own agencies and the government are trying to falsely frame patriotic citizens in terror incidents and make a mockery of the fight against cross border terrorism. Security forces and the police alone cannot fight terror, not in the least with archaic tools and old-fashioned training modules. Perpetrators of terror are way ahead in terror tactics while at times the police force is used more as a VIP protection force rather than a force that needs to fight and prevent terrorism. There is total lack of political will to fight terror. Security forces and para-military outfits need training, state-of-art equipment and above all respectability and recognition to perform at their optimum levels.

Besides the army, navy and the air force, the most important element in the fight against terror is the collective strength of the people who are both victims of terror and stake holders in the fight against terror. The government seems to have done very little in educating the people and creating awareness among them. The sense of patriotism and unity which was the bedrock of our freedom movement is woefully untapped today by the authorities. it is in this light that the FINS feels duty bound to step into that aspect of the fight against terror—creating awareness and involving the people’s power in the decision making process in the country in its efforts for a terror free society.

In the last few years FINS has tirelessly worked towards forging an institutional base to strengthen and coordinate all efforts in the fight against terror. The National Security Convention (NSC) held at Haridwar was a small but significant step in that direction. As a follow-up of the NSC, the idea of observing December 13 (the day Indian Parliament was attacked) as “National Security Day” has caught the imagination of the people. The sinister plots of terror are based on the idea of creating a fear psychosis among the people, drawing the attention of the victims to terror attacks and dividing the people on the basis of the deplorable ideology fueling the terror outfits. The effective antidote to this venom is a strong sense of patriotism, unity and integrity of the people and a resolve to annihilate terror, once and for all. That is why FINS, always on the side of the people.