“Does India lack strategy to fight terrorism? Why is that countries like the US and the UK so effectively combat terrorism, and terrorist attacks have been few and far between in those countries? In the face of a soft state and ineffective combat mechanism is the country doomed??? These are some of the questions that the youth in Mumbai have been asking after the spate of bombings in the city. There have been 110 bomb blasts in India in the last 10 years. But in the US, after the September 11 attacks, there has not been a single incident of any successful terrorist ploy. ?We always blamed Pakistan for all the terrorism here in India, now it has been conclusively proved that local Muslims have got involved. But why did it take so long for us to accept this,?? a student from Jamnalal Bajaj Management Institute sought to know. Almost every week since the bomb blasts in the western railway local train compartments there have been functions held in various colleges in Mumbai on the issue of terrorism. And the upswell of response in these meetings have come from unusual suspects?management, engineering and law students. At one such meeting held at the KC College in south Mumbai almost all the answers to these nagging questions were given by former DG of Punjab police K.P.S. Gill.
?It is our civilization, our culture and our Hindu religion that Pakistan wants to destroy??, said Shri Gill. Hatred has been Pakistan'sraison d?etre and it will never give up on India in any circumstances. ?When our politicians sought to hide under the facade of Pakistani abetment to terrorism, the US asked us: what are you doing about terrorism???, Gill pointed out. He stopped short of calling the Indian establishment impotent when it comes to tackling terrorism. He even scoffed at the idea of having peace talks with Pakistan on Kashmir.? Pakistan'sgenesis itself bears testimony to the fact that it will not give up supporting terrorism in India. It is so full of hatred and malice.??
A country which has a state policy of inflicting a thousand wounds on India even while accepting that it cannot win a conventional war with India, is not going to change its policy with peace talks, he added. Also, according to Shri Gill, the army is not supposed to take up the job of fighting domestic insurgents, but the police system has been completely corrupted and made ineffective by the politicians so that the government more often than not gets the army to do the job.
?The MLAs decide the transfer of police, so will the police work for the country or the politicians??? He even quoted several instances where the police have not been given good legal support as the cost was high. Ultimately, the cases were lost and the TADA accused have been left free. The rot has spread to the core of the Indian police set-up. After the Punjab success in squelching terrorism, the police officers were forced to commit suicide as wild allegations were levelled against them by the civil and human rights organisations. Shri Gill, emphatically said India is the only country where the army is subjected to human rights scrutiny.
Some of the policemen in Punjab after retirement have spent all the time in the courts attending various summons. The point raised by several members of the audience was that: why should the police fight against terrorism if they are going to hauled over the coals by civil rights groups? The police in Punjab was demoralised systematically by the human rights groups and politicians, and that, Shri Gill feared, is happening in Kashmir now.
?The government talks of giving a human face to anti-terror laws. Is that not an oxymoron. How can terrorism be dealt with a human face? Is it going to be the face of the hunted, fear-filled face of the victims like you all saw in Mumbai recently??? There was a collective gasp in the audience when Shri Gill uttered these words. The disease is within, and is spreading fast. Indian securitymen lack training, weapons, financial support and even moral support from the government. ?We have to fight against terrorists from as far away from the country as possible. Once he enters the country we have already lost the war??, he said, even as the allusion to bombing terrorist camps in Pakistan was not lost on the audience. There should be anti-terrorist squads in every police station. That has not happened even in Mumbai, which is the prime target of terrorists. It is also facile to think that some other country is going to fight our battles.