Look, if the officials of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) want a vacation to the US, it is just fine. As a tax-payer, I will permit it. There are security concerns. But, please, please, give me a break from some half-baked ideas that sprout in barren minds.
If the Pakistani-American terror suspect Dave Headley (Daaud Gilani) has been frantically exchanging e-mails “with his Pakistani handlers in the course of planning an attack in India”, then the security should be about how to prevent an attack here. The public would like to know about measures being taken and the veracity of such blowin’ in the wind plots.
India is vulnerable. All the more reason for us not to be misled. The Americans want full co-operation, and all they are throwing our way is that the suspect has mentioned the name Rahul to the FBI. The TOI front-paged the news:
Headley apparently told investigators that “Rahul’’ refers to a prominent Indian actor with that first name. Although there are a few Indian actors with the first name Rahul, there is apprehension that Headley may be trying to throw investigators offtrack. Concern is high also because it is the first name of Rahul Gandhi, whose father and grandmother were both assassinated.
However, the Gandhi scion is by no means the only person being mentioned as a possible target. Names doing the rounds within intelligence circles include Rahul Mahajan and actors Rahul Bose and Rahul Khanna, though it is considered unlikely that they would be terror targets.
Is this anywhere close to serious reporting? Have such conjectures been forwarded by security agencies, the IB, RAW? If not, then does the newspaper have any business to club it along with the main report? Should they wish to add the extra dash of intrigue and glamour to good old terrorism, must they not put it as an op-ed or a box item? Imagine all those Rahuls, who are primarily on the fringes of their profession, being suddenly in the limelight for no reason other than the fact that they share a name that is to “throw investigators off-track”, to begin with?
Now watch out for the glam section of the paper interviewing them, with sound bytes from other prominent film personalities, the modelling fraternity (Rahul Dev) or TV (Rahul Roy) about the threat to them. Some may ask for security and, because they have been mentioned in the report, they just might be provided with it. Is this fair to the exchequer? To us? To the cause we are supposedly fighting?
If the report mentions that these Rahuls have not had much success, why would any terrorist make them a target? This is beyond crazy; it is downright juvenile and stupid. There is worse:
It has also been pointed out that Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, often cited as a symbol of Indian secularism, has played characters named ‘Rahul’ in at least six films.
Unbelievable. It has also been pointed out by whom? The public has a right to know, and if the authorities are responsible they should be doing something about it rather than sending out such releases to the media. Their job is to work behind the scenes and not transform what they are at pains to tell us is a major attack possibility into some sort of tamasha with prominent names, even if they are merely visible socially.
How can the use of a name of a character in films suggest that the actor can be a target? I do understand the possibility had it been extortionists. Don’t these people have any clue that terrorists aim to make a huge impact; they do not target individuals unless they can send out a loud message to the authorities or to the international community.
I am afraid if this sounds insensitive, but none of the individuals would create a big bang, not even Rahul Gandhi. One hopes, at the human level, that they are safe irrespective of what they represent, but it is time the media and the establishment grew up.
This is again part of the elitist brigade being propped up, much like what followed the 26/11 attacks. Being targets is now considered a sign of some importance. There could be many Rahuls, Rahuls who are working quietly or even Rahuls with some murky connection who could be held to ransom. More importantly, we need to realise that terrorism is not about idiocy and it does not take an awful lot of intelligence to figure out that ‘Rahul’ is a tactic.
Why did no one think about turning Rahul backwards and making it into ‘luhar’ (the Hindi word for ironsmith)? It could have several connotations, but it is terribly downmarket. And where would they find pictures of such lowly professionals, and who would be interested in them anyway? Now, we can imagine the Page 3 types twirling their glasses of wine and clucking woefully about how the city is not what it was anymore.
Neither are you, sweetie…when did you ever give a fig about such issues before? And even now, unless they come with pearl strings attached, they just do not count to those living in oyster shells.