For those who think Belur Math blast was just firecrackers: What exactly is a terror attack?

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When a blast occurred at Patna when the Hunkar Rally was about to start, some were quick to term it as a tractor tyre blast. When a blast occurred at Burdwan it was termed as a minor incident and the story was not even sniffed for two days. [Belur Math blast: Chocolate bomb laced with ammonium nitrate, fuel oil]

What followed in the aftermath of the Hunkar Rally blast was something so major that many could have not imagined. There were scores of bombs planted at the Gandhi Maidan where Narendra Modi was to address a gathering and the intention was clearly to target him. [Belur Math blasts: What was the intention]


Then came the investigations into the Burdwan blast. What was termed as a minor accidental blast went on to become a major incident which was aimed at targeting the Bangladesh establishment and also spruce up terror activities in North East. [Why Bengal media silent over the Belur Math blasts?]

The Firecracker debate:

Two days back there were two minor explosions at the historic Belur Math in West Bengal. It was termed as a firecracker blast and this became the reason for it to be under-reported.

Now the forensic experts have found that it was a minor explosive which was laced with ammonium nitrate and fuel meant to cause panic in the Math.

Now technically speaking what happens when a firecracker is laced with ammonium nitrate and fuel? It becomes a crude bomb. Moreover this particular explosive known as a Chocolate Bomb is clearly not meant to just produce sound, but aimed at destroying.

The explosive fortunately did not kill or injure anyone, but did manage to shatter glasses at the Math. The devotees at the Math were clearly disturbed but thankfully they did gain composure as a result of which there was no stampede.

What is terrorism?

Terrorism is not defined by the weapon or the explosive. It is determined by the act. Remember the Kunming attack in China which took place in the year 2014? This was an attack with knives, but was classified as an act of terror. However there may be some who may argue that lives were lost.

Once again getting back to the argument of what exactly is terror? A act of terror aims at creating fear, panic or confusion. It is an act which aims at destabilizing a set up and driving across a sense of fear. No where in a dictionary does it state that an act of terror needs to be carried out with a particular weapon.

Does anyone remember the panic that was caused through an SMS campaign as a result of which there was a major exodus of people from the North Eastern states? No weapons were used and neither was anyone killed or injured. But it was termed as an act of terror because it caused panic and fear.

Intent is key in terrorism:

Let us be fair to the investigators in West Bengal who are trying to crack the Belur Math case. They are probing various angles to the incident. They are trying to find the exact composition of the explosive and prima facie they have found that it was an explosive laced with ammonium nitrate, fuel and potassium.

However what is more important to the investigation is the intent. Who carried out the blast and why. It may be an insider or an outsider job. It could well be a case of someone trying to convey a message to the establishment.

Whatever it may be, it was a clear case of security lapse and someone has managed to enter into the premises without being checked and plant an explosive. It could have easily been something bigger considering the lack of security.

As investigators probe into these facts and dig out more details, one must bear in mind it was an act of terror which was meant to scare a large gathering.

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