These were the original terrorist targets.
But this didn't instil fear in the common man, so they started attacking places of worship, railway stations, cinemas,random marketplaces.
And now, they choose to attack a scientific establishment.
CNN IBN reports: An armed intruder opened fire at the Indian Institute of Science premises in Bangalore on Wednesday evening, killing former professor of IIT Delhi MC Puri and injuring four others. Intelligence sources says the attack may be linked to Abu Salem's presence in the city.
The intruder, came in an Ambassador car around 1845 hrs (IST) and started firing indiscriminately near the Tata Auditorium where a seminar, International Conference on Management Studies was being held. Professor Puri was among the 250 professors attending the seminar.
A symbolic target? Or just a soft and easy one. A kid who's just passed the K G level in terrorist training can be entrusted a rifle and let loose on such a campus. A campus where brain is at a much higher premium than brawn.
I mean, sure, there would be some routine security checks at the gate but who seriously believes that a bunch of scientists gathered to discuss string theory or particle physics could be of interest to the Lashkar-e-toiba?
Laymen envision all scientists as variations of Einstein. Unfortunately not all scientists are that photogenic - most look rather ordinary, and could have been working in State Bank of India except they dress shabbier and attend office on Sundays of their own free will.
Well, at least that's how scientists are at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, where I grew up. Which is also why the IISc shooting is something that touches me very personally.
My dad is the same age as Dr M C Puri - Professor Emeritus from IIT Delhi - who was killed in the attack. He often attends similar conferences, the kind which are of no interest to anyone but people who've devoted decades of their lives to enlarging the body of knowledge in a particular esoteric field.
You come away from these conferences with embossed pens, pads and a little rucksack/ jhola/ carrybag which reads: "High Energy Cosmic Ray Conference blah blah blah."
And of course people will now say: why was there no security? But although there was talk of scientific establishments being possible targets, army-like security was a little alien to the laidback culture on these campuses. But that will change now...
The question is: how many soft targets can you eliminate? How hard would it be to enter IIT Bombay tomorrow and open fire at the crowd gathered for LiveWire?? Even if everyone is frisked and cars searched at the point of entry, the low boundary wall makes it easy for anyone to enter.
But right now, no need to even exert that much. As one IITian I was chatting with on messenger as I wrote this remarked: "Currently you could actually slip in with a carload of ammunition (into IIT) without being frisked at the gate..."
May Dr Puri's soul rest in peace.
And may these senseless killings end.
Because life is precious. More precious than any abstract ideology. Or concrete cause.Any motherland or fatherland. Any zid, jehad or junoon.