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Death threat to Narendra Modi: Dismissing possibility of bid to assassinate PM is cavalier, short-sighted

It is an ironic counterpoint that even as Facebook has confessed to having facilitated the leak of private messages from 14 million of its users, the most incriminating document of intent to kill has been discovered on the hard disk of an Indian activist.

Could Rona Jacob Wilson be so incredibly stupid as to so blatantly write a letter to her 'Comrade Prakash', outlining her rather 'plain-jane' plan for killing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis? And then signing it as 'R'.

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

The answer is yes. Resoundingly. Even if the outline sounds like something written by a pre-teen in its obviousness, the fact is we do stupid things and the en masse social platforms offer us a cloak of invisibility that is thoroughly misleading.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, most of us still believe that everything is encrypted and nothing can be traced and that the stuff we know is private and will not be seen by a third party.

In that context, the cavalier dismissal of the threat as a 'hollow' one seems not only self-indulgent but shortsighted. All threats have to be taken seriously. Scoffing at them, however outlandish, is compromising security and placing individuals at risk.

While it is fine to mock the Maoists and make it look like they have been cut to size, the fact is they haven't and are still a viable threat. The reduction in their ranks brought about by government initiatives is laudable but mutually exclusive from their hardcore elements, which are still active.

It makes sense to keep the pressure on and Home Minister Rajnath Singh would do well to up the alert rather than play it down. By the same token, it ill behoves the Congress to make light of it and term it a BJP ploy. That is such nonsense.

Somebody did write that message. Thoughtlessly or deliberately. Don't read this wrong. We all know that everything can be recalled. That 'delete' means it has gone to some cloud but can be retrieved. Every word of the whole of the past. That everything we write is forever and the big brothers are not just watching, they are also reading, compiling, sorting and following. We know all this since we are not stupid.

It is just that we do not register it and cannot wrap our heads around the fact that everything we wrote, from A to B, is actually universal in its access. Think of all the stuff you have written then, on second thoughts, deleted, fondly comforted that it has disappeared. What if all of it, every oblique negative comment and remark, were to suddenly appear as a dossier?

So yes, Rona is quite likely to have written this infantile, slightly superficial and basic letter of intent, 'secure' in the knowledge that it will not be traced to her. In another era, where the internet was not a rat trap, we might be inclined to believe she has been set up because a committed killer in the making would be a lot more subtle, complex and careful in leaving a paper trail or any trail at all.

But even if there was an outside chance that this person has been used to create a furore and the Congress demanding a fair investigation (which is its way of mocking the development), the authorities cannot take it lightly.

The threat has to be seen as real. One hundred percent, and not for window dressing alone. This is not a one-day sensation and until the leads are tracked to their logical conclusion, the investigation has to stay on the front burner. There is this suspicion that having peaked as a story it has now gone into a nosedive.

Remember what happened to Rajiv Gandhi and how security messed up back then. It can happen again. The threat has to be taken seriously. We are very easily sidetracked by the deeply ingrained Indian social totem pole (as anyone who is a 'sahib' in the hierarchy will tell you) and getting close to Modi is no big deal. Until the crisis point is passed, the two targets must have increased security details.

That the Rona angle has so swiftly lost its relevance in the public mind is scary. The Congress, least of all, should want to scoff it or play it down.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says in this context; never ride a tiger, you may be its first victim. One can also say: tiger, Tiger, still burning bright.

Updated Date: Jun 10, 2018 15:17 PM

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