The news of three mutually disparate groups — at least apparently so — plotting to kill Narendra Modi is a portent of the danger not just the person of the Prime Minister faces but also what the nation is confronted with. Either this government is disturbing separate nefarious outfits for different reasons, or these domestic and foreign terrorists are collaborators in the crime. The issue no longer requires Rajiv Malhotra’s painstakingly explained Breaking India — and the author’s subsequent campaign to sensitise the people to the worldwide conspiracy — to merit a serious, meticulous, foolproof response from the Union and all State governments. The development over the past few months has projected the sheer callousness of the nation-state that lost two prime ministers to the assassin’s bullets and bombs. Long ago under the regime of Rajiv Gandhi, when an assessment of the prime minister’s security was made, while the guards for the country’s chief political executive were hailed for their high professional standards, experts said it was still possible to eliminate the real head of the Indian state through a missile (if not rocket) attack. Of course, the LTTE did not have to try that hard, as it studied and then took advantage of the then Congress head’s casual approach to his own security, wherein he would repeatedly break the cordon and mingle with the crowd at the venues of his rallies. While Modi is thankfully better guarded, in a scenario where communist terrorists active in central-western India, a bombing convict of southern India and an internationally proclaimed terrorist organisation of Pakistan are working on one, identical goal, whether the SPG commandos would prove adequate in providing a shield to the current premier is doubtful. Among the credible and outlandish hopes generated by the formation of the Modi government in 2014 was one where National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, whose track record boasts of fighting militancy in Punjab successfully as a sleuth, was expected to liquidate Pakistani terror groups in Israeli Mossad style. That has turned out to be nothing more than wishful thinking by a bunch of enamoured fans of demigod Modi.

The unnecessary violence witnessed during the Bhima-Koregaon commemoration of the Dalit ‘triumph’ over Peshwas followed by bloodshed during the Bharat Bandh a couple of months later did indicate the penetration of sinister elements in the groups of activists. The state does not seem to appreciate the gravity of the situation created by what is, in all probability, a worldwide mafia that wields the weapon of the pen as much as it flaunts the might of the sword. It was surprising when all that the Home Ministry could muster in its ‘clampdown’ on NGOs was issue them notices for FCRA violations when they have been known to violate a lot more. Their network might well include, in one of its outer circles, journalists who would try to brush the issue under the carpet, who would take recourse to spins in the original story to dismiss the apprehension. If these scribes really believe in their interpretation of the police submission in a court of law, they must be subscribers of struisvogelpolitiek. On the part of the state, a comprehensive plan to tackle the menace is alarmingly not in place.

The scare is plausible. First, whereas every country worth its salt would like to be on friendly terms with an emerging India, the promising economy also poses a threat to the existing lords of the market. Second, while no ‘Hindutva’ activity could finally be linked incontrovertibly to the government in the last four years, it cannot be denied that, on the one hand, some Hindu groups have cornered the evangelists and tablighi jamaat, motivated by the fact that Modi-led BJP rules at the Centre and, on the other, funding for the two expansionist religions have turned harder to come by, thanks to the present dispensation. Third, notwithstanding the non-resolution of the dispute over Kashmir, terrorism has been forced to stay confined to the Valley even as, in central parts of the country, the Maoist map is constantly shrinking, threatening to relegate red terror to history. Bewildered by this three-pronged hazard, the enemies of the country could probably not contemplate a blow more severe than launching a physical attack on its popular prime minister to affect the morale of Indians. Modi, at this critical juncture, must not suffer the inhibition that sprucing up his security — as well as liquidating the overt and covert terrorists — could create a public impression of his self-aggrandisement. It must be reiterated that merely his person is not at stake; indeed, the nation is.