Last week was eventful. On Jul. 22, the Congress-party led coalition government won the trust vote in Parliament, paving the way for the India-US nuclear deal to go forward. The following day, the stock market saw the Sensex soar 838 points. Clearly, the business community and investors were happy there was political stability, at least for the time being. Everyone was expecting more growth and reforms.
But, just three days later on Jul. 25, India's tech capital Bangalore was the target of seven (low-intensity) bomb blasts. The following day, Ahmedabad (in Gujarat) saw 16 blasts that killed over 40 people.
Several TV channels received an e-mail from a group, called the "Indian Mujahideen", claiming responsibility for these blasts. This is the same terrorist outfit that had claimed responsibility for eight bombs that killed 63 people in Jaipur (in Rajasthan) in May this year.
In all these terrorist attacks--in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad--the terrorist outfit in question appears to have used technology very intelligently. The blasts happened one after another and appeared well-planned and synchronized. This time, the terrorists even targeted hospitals, where the wounded would inevitably go for first-aid help and treatment.
The police traced the e-mail that was sent to media organizations to an apartment in Navi Mmbai. The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) team located the flat by detecting the IP address used to send the terror e-mail. But so far, no headway has been made. The police is also investigating the possibility that the IP address was cloned or hijacked, and has suggested that the computer may have been hacked to send terror e-mail.
It's quite apparent that terrorists are immensely tech-savvy. They can misguide the police by sending e-mail messages from false IP addresses and hacked computers, and use the telecom and IT infrastructure very smartly.
Just as the BPO (business process outsourcing) providers in the country are today known for being highly secure, India--as a nation--will have to do the same by beefing up its security and intelligence networks. Had the BPO providers not focused on making their offices secure, they could not have come this far.
For a country that's now increasingly known as an IT superpower, the attacks in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, should serve as a wake-up call. Security should be our topmost priority--not just for the government, the police and the policy-makers, but even for its citizens.