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Message to terrorists: We shall treat you very well if we catch you alive

Author: Tanuj Khosla
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 14, 2011
URL: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sugar-n-chilly/entry/message-to-terrorists-we-shall-treat-you-very-well-if-we-catch-you-alive

10 years ago when I was a first year engineering student, two countries were attacked by terrorists in a space of about three months – September 11 attacks in the US and December 13 attack on the Indian Parliament. A decade later when I am older and wiser, I see clearly see that the response of both the nations to these strikes couldn’t have looked any looked more different. The US blamed Al-Qaida for the attacks, declared a war on Afghanistan, spent millions of dollars and finally flushed out and killed Osama Bin Laden from Pakistan earlier this year. India which unlike the US had one of the perpetrators of the attack within its national borders incarcerated him, clothed him, fed him and has been so reluctant to execute him that to my mind there is a 50 per cent chance right now that Afzal Guru (and even Ajmal Kasab) shall die from old age.

Let me clarify one thing here before I proceed further – I was NOT in support of US’s attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan. In my opinion both innocent lives (consisting of local civilians and US soldiers) and the millions of dollars (which the US could have used to aid its struggling economy) were lost due to the arrogance and ‘I am the big daddy’ mentality of Americans leaders. But the fact remains that they waged a war against the terrorists who attacked their country and killed their people, persisted in the face of challenging terrain and hostile enemies and punished (whether justifiably or unjustifiably is a topic for another day) the man responsible.

Coming back to Afzal Guru, he was convicted for conspiracy in the attack on the Parliament. The order to sentence him to death was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2004. The sentence was to be carried out on October 20, 2006. However, his execution was stayed following a mercy petition filed by his wife. The matter is now pending before President Pratibha Patil who has been sitting on it since July this year (despite Home Ministry’s recommendation that the mercy plea be rejected).

Well, what else one can expect from a puppet President who has been made the symbol of ‘women empowerment’ and ‘progress of minorities’ by the calculative Congress which gave her that chair? It is clear who is in the driver’s seat here.

Congress is playing ‘votebank politics’ to appease Muslim voters by delaying the hanging of Afzal Guru. Protecting terrorists and playing the communal card to further its political ambitions – can a party fall any lower? I feel disgusted.

Terrorists planning more attacks on our country have all the reasons to feel emboldened after seeing the ‘royal’ treatment their brethren are getting in India. In most instances of terrorist strike we have an intelligence failure with the authorities clueless about the identity of the attackers up until a terrorist outfit comes forward itself and claims responsibility!! Switch on the TV in such times and all you see are by-lines after by-lines stating ‘PM condemns attacks’, ‘XYZ politician condemns attack’ and the chattering classes holding debates moderated by a dramatic anchor at prime time. A few days later everybody forgets the attacks except the people who have lost their loved ones in them. Once in a while we manage to nab culprits like Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab, the Supreme Court then finds them guilty after what seems likes ages despite having conclusive evidence at its disposal but what happens thereafter? – they are looked after like son-in-laws in our jails!!! It is a matter of national shame.

* I can’t help thinking about Congress’s reaction in the following hypothetic scenarios:
If the kin of one of the victims in the terrorist attacks shoots Afzal Guru or Ajmal Kasab: The Congress shall probably fast track the court proceedings and have him/her punished in record time. After all the Muslim votebank can’t be angered, right?

* If one of the frontline politicians got killed in the attacks: Recall how the whole party rallied behind Sharad Pawar when he just got slapped by a frustrated common man a few days ago. The latter was promptly taken into custody. Imagine the party’s proactivity in case one one of their top shot politicians lost his/her life in a terrorist attack. If only Congress realized that the life of the common man in the street is just as important as that of a politician.

Some readers of this blog may argue (rather ridiculously) that if Afzal Guru is hung, so should Narendra Modi for his alleged role in Gujarat riots. Without expressing my personal opinion on Modi, I would just like to say one thing to the people making this argument - Modi has not been found guilty and convicted by any court in India.

In conclusion, I feel frustrated to see that a party which cries its top out when one of its politicians gets whacked in the face by a common man is stubbornly silent on the issue of hanging a terrorist who was a part of the attack on our parliament in which our servicemen lost their lives. We need to be tough with terrorists in order to deter attacks in the future but Congress seems busy playing dirty votebank politics and doesn’t seem to give a damn. We urgently need a new government or a new (and strong) President. Sadly, neither shall happen overnight.
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