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SIMI Kaam Tamam: DO WE WANT LIVE TERRORISTS?, By Poonam I Kaushish, 8 Nov, 2016 Print E-mail

Political Diary

New Delhi, 8 November 2016

SIMI  Kaam Tamam


By Poonam I Kaushish


“Gher ke kar do poora kaam tamam,” ominous words uttered in the wee hours of Monday 31 October morning which resulted in death of eight Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists by the Madhya Pradesh police after they allegedly escaped from the Bhopal central jail. Predictably, the murder led to a par on course political spectacle with our ‘secular’ Opposition Parties accusing BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan Government of staging a “fake” ruthless murder resulting in a judicial probe.


Lost in the din of moral outrage against the naqli encounter is the larger picture: How does one combat the scourge of deadly terrorism which has enveloped India in its octopus-like embrace. Think. Of the 670 districts in the country, as many as 270 are terror-prone. Of these, 70 districts have already been ravaged by terrorists, and this is discounting Jammu & Kashmir.


Terror has already cost India more than 72,000 civilians and 12,000 security personnel. Self-proclaimed Islamic terrorists alone have killed 8,617 Indians in the last three years. In fact, since 2004, India has lost more lives to terrorist attacks than the whole of North, South and Central America, Europe and Eurasia put together.


Yet we continue to wallow in the false belief that wars are games born in the minds of men which can be won peacefully by merely waving the white flag or we promptly initiate a blame game. The BJP’s fake encounters vis-à-vis the Congress going soft on terrorism. Besides, terror has become a big yawn.


Indeed, Acharya Kriplani was ever so right. When, he described Indians as the world’s biggest hypocrites and humbugs. We exhaust precious national energy, time and money on individual issues a la SIMI activists. Thanks to opportunistic political expediency. With elections in five States early next year each Parties agenda is linked not so much to the SIMI activists’ murder but by tom-tomming human rights violations nets them votes and helps score brownie points with the Muslims and their vote-banks.


Most sadly, our so-called secular Parties callously ignore the strong signal they send to the Muslims that they will not do anything which may even remotely hurt the Muslim sentiment, terrorism or no terrorism. See how Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh has given a communal slant to the encounter by raising queries asking why are only Muslims killed!


Plainly, this is appeasement at its crassest worst. All forget that no amount of appeasement will change the intentions of the terrorists who are determined to bleed India whatever it takes. Forgetting that a war can be won only by a bigger war!


Less said the better of our jhollawallahs and professional human rights activists who do not find anything wrong with any terrorist and will go to every extent to exonerate them in courts of law and dubbing them as “martyr”. Any wonder then that a frustrated police find it convenient to exterminate hardened criminals rather than arresting and prosecuting them.


National Security Adviser Ajit Doval nails this by underscoring that the rule of law is a means to an end and not an end in itself. This is rooted in the principles of salus populi est suprema lex (the people’s welfare is the supreme law) and salus res publica est suprema lex (the safety of the nation is supreme law).


In fact, the Supreme Court in the case of DK Basu vs West Bengal in 1997 accepted these two principles validity by stating they were “not only important and relevant, but lying at the heart of the doctrine that welfare of an individual must yield to that of the community.”


Undeniably, police encounters are reflections of a complex phenomenon. Even as we are aghast at an extrajudicial death, we need to appreciate that the police deals with hardened criminals and become their victims as well. On an average, over 1,500 policemen get killed every year grappling with terrorists and insurgents.


Is, the police more sinned against than sinning in dealing with ruthless terrorists who enjoy the advantage of choosing the target, the place and the time?


It is open secret that the police time and again not only take recourse to third degree methods in order to extract truth from alleged criminals but also kills them with impunity. True, there are incidents of fake encounters. But to blow them out of proportion and then politicise and communalise them is playing with fire and against national interest.


In 2007, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) displayed a list of 440 fake encounters from 2002 to 2007. According to the Home Ministry during 2009-10 to 2012-13 555 cases were registered by the NHRC of alleged fake encounters by police, defence and paramilitary forces.


Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 231, Bihar 79, Maharashtra 73 and Andhra 61, followed by Rajasthan 33, Delhi 26, Uttaranchal 19, Assam 12, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka 10 each. Add to this our judicial system remains rooted in archaic 19 century enactments whereby ineffectual justice is unable to cope with the upsurge in militant violence.


Questionably, what does one do in a situation where a terrorist holds the State hostage? Can a nation afford to sit back and let militancy gain an upper hand? Where militants call the shots? Isn’t it an inescapable side-effect of the battle against militants?


Clearly, when the State’s existence is in peril, the only way to hit back is to carry the fight into the enemy camp effectively. At times State terror can be justified so long as it for the greater common good. Former Punjab Governor, the late Dharma Vira (ex-Cabinet Secretary), was ever so right when under a spell of President’s rule during the height of Sikh militancy in the State he directed: “I have no use for live terrorists!”


Indeed, the Kandhar fiasco or Mumbai 26/11 would never have happened if only the three terrorists Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar had been duly eliminated and not jailed.


Remember a terrorist has no caste or creed. For him terrorism is the religion. Be it a Hindu, a Muslim or a Sikh. He is an invisible enemy who uses our resources and freedom to hit us at will. An enemy that has no borders and no scruples. Adept in exploiting the latest technologies, he identifies and exploits our weaknesses. While we talk, he acts. Inflicting maximum loss at minimum cost. All at our expense.


India needs to understand that when terror strikes, nations are expected to hit back with maximum force and carry the fight into the enemy camp. It is not enough to possess unrelenting, unremitting muscle power. On occasions it becomes necessary to display that power. Kudos to Prime Minister Modi for a course correction and adopting a ‘muscular’ policy.


The terrorism we face today is no longer terror in someone else’s backyard. Or the prerogative of spy thrillers. Terrorism poses a deadly challenge that can be met only through ruthless State power, not namby pamby platitudes. Remember, when our liberalism and freedom becomes the enemy’s Kalashnikov it is time for India to wake up and do some honest soul searching a la Mahabharat! ---- INFA,


(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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