To crunch the finances to the foreign sponsored terrorists and hence minimize the terrorist activities in the country was one of the main objectives of this demonetization as declared by the PM Modi himself. Government soon claimed the move to be successful and Defence Minister Parrikar four days later tweeted telling the nation that ‘demonetization has struck the core of terror funding’. He reiterated his stand later on 27th November again while speaking at Vijay Sankalp Rally in Panaji.
We all know, by now, that Indian government loves its own propaganda feeds. Too much propaganda and shallow talks are increasingly creating a situation where people have stopped believing them and those who do might soon follow the suit. I remember one of my teachers at University telling us never to write or speak anything that cannot be backed with proper statistics and fact. This government seems not to have ever bothered for such facts and statistics.
To believe that terrorist activities are funded through money stacked as truckloads of cash and illegally acquired one should have rather a short memory or lack of general awareness. One of the most ghastly and bloodiest terrorist attacks ever to have planned and executed on Indian soil was Bombay Bomb Blasts. 26/11 attack was planned in Pakistan and terrorists sailed through the boats to carry it out. It is a common knowledge that money for Bomb blasts was transferred through formal banking channels. Yakub Memon was awarded capital punishment for transferring money through bank accounts. Nowhere was the hard cash involved.
If there was still an iota of doubt left in anybody’s mind then whatever has happened in this country since 8th November is itself evidence. Soon after demonetization was announced on 9th November Havildar Satnam Singh lost his life in Kupwara district. A week later in the forests near Baramulla a policeman was killed by the terrorists.
On 19th November, United Liberation Front for Asom (Independence) carried out an attack on an army convoy in Assam’s Tinsukia district. It was the first major attack by ULFA since BJP acquired the power in Assam. Three soldiers lost their lives in an attack carried out with the help of IEDs, mortar propelled grenades and automatic rifles. ULFA killed a civilian three days earlier at the same location in another terror attack.
On 22 November Pakistani terrorists alongside ‘Border Action Team’ ambushed soldiers of 57 Rashtriya Rifles in Kupwara district. Three Indian soldiers lost their lives as body of one of them was inhumanly mutilated.
The worst was in store for 29th November when terrorists attacked Indian soldiers at Nagrota. Seven Indian soldiers including two Major rank officers were killed. It was the deadliest strike from Pakistan sponsored terrorists since Uri attack earlier this year.
Since the demonetization, Pakistani terrorists have killed at least fifteen Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir alone. If highly trained and well-equipped Indian soldiers have become so vulnerable to the threat of terrorism just imagine the threat that civilians face.
In spite of all this violence defence minister is claiming that terrorists are suffering after the demonetization.
In fact, demonetization helped terrorists in planning and executing the attack at Nagrota where seven Indian soldiers lost their lives. Sixteen CCTV cameras installed at a Toll plaza 4 kms from the artillery camp were not working since 8th November. In the wake of demonetization, the government temporarily stopped toll collections across the country. If working, these could have provided important leads to the terrorists who drove to the army headquarters in a car wearing Jammu and Kashmir police uniform.
We do not question the intention of the government. Any human on this planet would try to stop the menace of terrorism and our government is no different. Yet as Elizabeth Howell writes, “The road to hell is paved with the best of conscious intentions” it is the result that matters. While government might have thought it to be the best move to check the terrorism in reality, it is proving out to be otherwise. Demonetization has only succeeded in making Indians stand in queues for hours and hence losing productive hours. It has caused hardships and not able to give the desired output.
(Author is a research scholar of History at JNU, New Delhi)