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'POTO and India just not made for each other!'

'POTO and India just not made for each other!'

Author: Prakash Singh
Publication: The Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Date: November 9, 2001

Introduction: Human rights of terrorists are important. Policemen, paramilitary and Army personnel have no human rights; they serve to die.

India is different, and it must remain so. While other countries are gearing up to fight international terrorism, we need not be unduly disturbed by the threat. Matters nearer home are far more important.

We have spent the last 50 years promoting our caste and regional interests, building personal fortunes, giving a long rope to mafia dons and distorting the rule of law to the rule of the jungle. Democracy has been subverted to a government that buys people, at the expense of the people and far from the people.

We must continue to tread this path charted by our illustrious leaders.

The Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance is an outrageous piece of legislation. It has been promulgated for electoral advantage and will be an instrument of oppression in the hands of government.

It should not be allowed to be passed in the Parliament and be opposed on the following grounds:

1. India has a tradition of inviting or letting in foreign invaders. It dates back from Alexander's invasion in 326 BC and continued through Mahmud of Ghazni's 17 forays into India, up to Pakistan's intrusions planned by Musharraf in Kargil in 1999. The tradition should be continued and we should allow the mujahideen terrorists a free run of the country.

2. India has produced Jaichands and Omichands in the past. The breed has greatly proliferated since, thanks to the westernised Indian elite, which has no love for Mother India. We should not impose any undemocratic restraints on them.

3. We have a criminal justice system which does not believe in punishing criminals. Why discriminate against the terrorists then? We have provincial satraps who are more particular about holding on to their zamindari in their respective states than giving powers to the federal government which might enable it to combat organised crime more effectively. Let them flower in their respective cesspools.

4. The terrorists, in any case, are doing a great service to the country in the sense that they reduce our population even though to a marginal extent (nearly 50,000 so far). Considering that no politician of the country has the courage to tackle this gargantuan problem, we should recognise whatever little service they are doing in this sphere.

5. The Congress lost Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi in terrorist attacks. The party's opposition to POTO shows that it is willing to make more such sacrifices. This should be an inspiration to the other political parties.

6. Human rights of terrorists are important. Policemen, paramilitary and Army personnel have no human rights; they serve to die.

7. A large number of so-called human rights activists would lose their jobs if the terrorists were all put behind bars or dealt with by the security forces. Their unemployment would be a matter of concern.

8. Our secular credentials would suffer a setback if we crack own on the fundamentalists. We should not violate any 'salutary principle enshrined in the Constitution.

9. The police cannot be trusted with authoritarian powers. It has
misused them in the past and in all likelihood will abuse them in future also. That we have not cared to reform the police and used it as an instrument of the executive all these years is not relevant.

10. Getting votes and winning elections are far more important. National security can take a back seat.

 11. We have always believed in ahimsa. Those thinking in terms of incarcerating or eliminating terrorists would be acting against the principle of non-violence.

12. The fundamentalists want to hoist their flag on the Red Fort. What difference would it make? After all, it is a piece of cloth only.

13. We should not imitate the US or UK which have passed antiterrorist legislation and are in the process of making it more stringent. The US has already suffered heavily for its bias against the fundamentalists. UK is most likely to get the next blow. We should try to keep the fundamentalists in good humour and be on the right side of bin Laden.

(The writer is a retired police officer.)

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