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Uncivil liberties

Uncivil liberties

Author: P R Ramesh
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: December 27, 2006
URL: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/940213.cms

Introduction: * Cop-bashing has became the favourite of a section of the ruling class and liberals * A country that is at war with terror, needs competent lifesavers and not fumblers who give in to civil liberty activists * The Centre has been backing the spurious theory that economic backwardness alone should be blamed for the terror menace

The liberals, Communists and the Sonia Gandhi establishment forced the Maharashtra government to conduct a politically correct outreach with the hardline Muslim leadership. For the past several months, they have been complaining that the police are locking up innocent people belonging to the minority community.

The cop-bashing sessions, organised by the Left-liberals in the wake of the revelations that hardline Islamic outfit Simi was involved in the Malegaon blasts, had become occasions to celebrate the cult of victimhood. The Maharashtra government gave in to pressure and the Malegaon case was handed over to the CBI on a day the state government's anti-terrorists squad (ATS) filed the chargesheet against the attackers.

There were no validation of the claims of police excesses; there were no verification of the claims of persecution. Instead what was on display was taking comments of police officials out of context, fabricating arrests to show that innocents are being targeted and exploiting the sentiments of the gullible in the civil society.

The state government endorsed the community hardliners view that the state police is a group of vicious and dangerous people. Ever since investigations ruled out that the "Hindu groups are responsible for the attack at Bada Kabaristan" line, Islamic outfits and community hardliners were on the loose complaining that police was going around threatening people belonging to the minority community at gun point.

But, is answering a few questions on a terror attack in the neighbourhood an attack on civil liberty? Isn't it part of the duty of a law-abiding citizen? Unfortunately, cop-bashing has became the trendiest social project of a section of the ruling class and the liberals.

In the process, the regime, which is tasked with ensuring the safety of its citizens, chose to ignore the findings of the Maharashtra police. What were the ATS' findings? The September 8 blasts were part of a larger plot that was being planned and sponsored by Islamic fascists who run terror camps in Pakistan.

Two Pakistanis were involved in the attack. One of the arrested, Mohammed Ali had sent Shabbir Batterywala, another accused, for training at a terrorist camp near Karachi. Besides, Mohammed Ali and Batterywala, the others arrested in the case are Noor-ul-Huda, Raees Ahmed, Dr Salman Farsi, Dr Faroqh Maghdumi, Mohammed Zahid alias Zahid Ali, and Asif Khan Bashir Khan alias Junaid. Both Ali and Junaid have also been booked for their role in the July 11 Mumbai serial train blasts case.

According to the police, Huda and Raees Ahmed planted the bombs that went off at Bada Kabristan, while Zahid planted the bomb at Mushawra Chowk. After the 7/11 blasts in Mumbai, Ali supplied 15 to 20 kg of RDX to Batterywala, of which approximately 1.5 kg were used in the Malegaon blasts.

Traces of the RDX were found at Batterywala's godown. The ATS has named Maghdumi and Batterywala as the main movers of the plot. The first meeting of these attackers took place on May 8 this year at Noor-ul-Huda's wedding in Malegaon. All of them and some more SIMI members attended the wedding, after which plans to carry out the blasts were discussed.

The police officials probing the blasts were not handcuffing every member of a particular community in the Bada Kabaristan areas. They were doing what they were supposed to do. The police arrested them because they had some familiarity with Asim Cheema's bomb-building manual and the LeT terror camps' operational assistance. This version of the police needed to be verified.

The right venue for deciding the merits of the police findings was the court. But if the state government's decision to take the probe away from the police is anything to go by, grievance mongers have taken over the job of the judiciary. And here, cases will not be debated on the basis of hard evidence, but by political correctness.

In a country that is at war with fundamentalist terror, what is required are competent lifesavers and not fumblers who give in to the tantrums of civil liberty activists. The hype makers in the civil society have immense tolerance for the law-breaking crowd. The government has to be tough with murderous frauds and bomb builders. And the police should have the freedom to do this. There should be no space for guilt trips.

That the government is recklessly non-serious about the threat from religious terrorism is being advertised by the people who control the levers of power at the Centre. They have been displaying an anxiety to back the spurious theory that economic backwardness alone should be blamed for the terror menace. Aren't some of the world's richest nations big time sponsors of terror? Debates in Parliament have seen leading lights of the government, from PM downwards, purveying the theory of economic backwardness.
If the government continues to persist with this approach and cower when liberals broadcast specious fears, it is sure to have its ramifications on the determination of the law enforcers to tackle attacks from the jihadis. No terrorist goes to the police, confesses and gets detained. Acting on the fear from the Left liberals is both foolish and dangerous.

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