Tuesday, March 21st, 2023 20:38:10

Deal Hooligans With An Iron Hand

Updated: September 29, 2012 12:10 pm

India has become a soft target for terrorism, in the name of secularism and vote-bank politics. Let me make it clear that I am for secularism, but certainly would not allow people to take advantage of it to destroy India. Hooligans, in the guise of protest, loot and burn public property. And our so-called secular leaders show solidarity with them, who are allegedly illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

So-called protesters, or by whatever name you may call them, burn and damage Amar Jawan Jyoti Memorial. The Police, headed by the senior-most police officers in Mumbai kept looking on, as mute spectators, because this was what the state government expected of the police.

\Whether it is corruption or terrorism, in our country, the government has no will to crush anti-national forces. In fact in the name of appeasing for vote bank, the government turns a blind eye to any incident involving minorities, saying that the law will take its due course.

Indeed at the national level, we have no law to crush terrorism. The proposal of the former Union Home Minister to give teeth to the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act 2008, was put in the cold storage by deferring it in August, 2012 by the Union Cabinet.

Recently, a bench of the Supreme Court Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad observed that Indian TV channels “were acting in their own commercial interests putting the national security in jeopardy”.

The bench said that any attempt to justify the conduct of the channels by citing the right to freedom of speech and expression would be “totally wrong and unacceptable” in such a situation.

Indeed, I remarked at the time of 26/11 attacks, that the entire operation had been reduced to a live mouse and cat show. But a pertinent question can be asked: Why did the Intelligence officers not advise the government or why did the highly paid bureaucrats, supposed to be top advisers, not advise the government of stopping this tamasha (game), or not counsel the Ministers concerned.

Incidentally, at the time of 26/11, the National Security Adviser was a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, who is the Governor of a state.

The net result is that everything or any issue is dealt with in an adhoc manner and is forgotten till the next serious terrorist attack occurs. Of course, there cannot be any permanent solution to any problem or problems, which will be valid in all circumstances and state of affairs.

But unfortunately, there is no will to learn the lessons from the incidents, which have happened in hundreds in Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Hyderabad, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and many other states.

One of the highest acts of treason was committed, when a public protest meeting, called by a Muslim organisation in Mumbai, turned into a mob, which burnt police vehicles, snatched police weapons and vandalised the Amar Jawan Jyoti (a memorial to commemorate the valour of Indian soldiers). The Union Agriculture Minister, whose party is a coalition partner in the Maharashtra government, blasted the Home Minister for inept handling of the situation. Incidentally the same gentleman was the Maharashtra State Home Minister at the time of 26/11 attack.

Karnataka Police have arrested 18 members of a terror module with links in Pakistan. Karnataka Police say: “Preliminary probes revealed that one member stayed in Saudi Arabia (where their handlers are based) for a year and returned to Bengaluru, and was in touch with the other terror suspects, arrested in Bengaluru. They were hatching a plot to execute target killings…The network is huge and spread across the country. The investigations show that one among the accused had approached around 150 students, belonging to a minority community, asking them to take active part in ‘religious discussions’.”

The accused allegedly said in his message: “Our religion is in danger and we need to plunge into the war field to save and uphold the interests of our religion.”

Fortunately, the number of such people is microscopic as 99 per cent Muslims in India would have nothing to do with supporting any terrorist or a terrorist organisation. The same was the position in Punjab during the days of Sikh extremism, till the policy of bullet for bullet was adopted by a brave Director General of Police from the minority community itself, of course, with the support of the government. At that time, I was the Inspector General of Police and heading Central Reserve Police Force there.

When things became normal in Punjab, then there was a spate of complaints against the police officers, for violation of human rights. Nobody remembered the rights of ordinary Punjabis, including a serving Chief Minister of Punjab, who was killed in his own office premises.

We may not agree with the Communists leader Mao, who was right in saying that power flows from the barrel of the gun. I do not mean to say that human rights should not be respected. But when there is a war against the nation, by the terrorists irrespective of their caste or community or religion, then the rule of war should apply.

I am proud of being a secular Indian, but my only concern is that I do not see any clarity of policy or will on the part of the central government in dealing with terrorism. Sometimes, it goes for negotiations, another time, it goes for appeasing terrorists or Naxalites or releases the terrorists to get some people released as a barter.

It sends a wrong signal to its field formation, as to what stand they should take in fighting the terrorists. Just to remind after 9/11, the then US President Bush signed a list of 120 persons, directing CIA, that they should be caught, preferably live, and shot dead in case it cannot be done.

Does any Indian politician have guts to give such orders in writing to its security forces? Patriotism does not lie in appeasing, but in doing what right is. If there is no India left, how can one ensure the fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution? Our leaders should remember that duty for the nation is non negotiable. They should at least do their duty.

 By Joginder Singh

(The author is former Director, CBI)

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