Recently, one of my colleagues wondered aloud whether train accidents are not happening ‘too frequently’? This was after the horrific three-train collision that took place in Odisha on June 2, exactly a week ago. While the culpability of parties involved in that crash is yet to be fixed, social media has been flooded with visuals of a recent attempt at derailment by placing a large rock between tracks; news also came in about another potentially-disastrous derailment which was prevented more by luck than because of vigilant railway staff.
While discussing this, my colleague also said, cryptically, “Elections are approaching…” and then hurriedly changed the topic.
This took me back to the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019 in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 40 security personnel lost their lives. Just like present-day, then too, questions had been raised about the timing of the attacks and the targeted victims. The government of the day was offered an opportunity to launch a robust response in the form of the Balakot airstrikes. Elections were only a few weeks away.
On 26 February, 2019, twelve Mirage-2000 jets of the Indian Air Force crossed the Line of Control and dropped bombs into Balakot, Pakistan. India claimed that it attacked a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp and killed a large number of terrorists, reported to be between 300 and 350. This was a manifestation of the promise of ‘ghus ke marenge’ (we will hit them inside their territory) made by the premier political leader of our country.
Although it may seem like a stretch to connect the Pulwama terror attack and concomitant Balakot strike with the current situation of the Indian railways in general and the accident in Odisha in particular, truth does prove to be stranger than fiction at the best of times. And the times, at present, they are a-changin’, with a general election only a few months away.
Some so-called ‘conspiracy theorists’ have even brought up the bogey of ‘privatisation’ of the Indian Railways. By constantly portraying it as an old, defunct, unsafe network in the media, especially after the recent Balasore accident, could it be that now attempts will be made to push for privatisation of the entire railways? This would benefit a few close friends of those in power and at the same time, bring down the number of accidents and fatalities in future.
In essence, the message being delivered here is that only the supreme leader can save us from all kinds of mishaps, guide us around treacherous political morraines and deliver us from all kinds of geo-political evils.
However, the wise among us know that speaking out loud or even hinting at any kind of conspiracy behind past and present-day accidents/mishaps/terror attacks and so on, is sure to earn you the badge of ‘loony’, ‘conspiracy theorist’ and/or just plain ‘traitor’. This is why, despite getting a feeling that there is more to it than meets the eye, not many are willing to stick their neck out and proffer any kind of cogent, logical explanation for events that seem ‘staged’ and their timing ‘stage-managed’.
For, the mark of the prudent is to call a spade a spade but wait till the time is right. And hey, truth cannot be hidden forever but we all cherish our place here on this earth and our personal safety too much to awaken a somnolent, venomous reptile, knowing full well the repercussions of the act.