Whenever any terrorist incident occurs, the Government is either a mute spectator or says that the matter is under investigation. If any terrorist is arrested, there is a crescendo of voices, proclaiming that the person named is innocent. More than that our politicians are the first to jump into fray, to protect, the enemies of the country, because they are guided by the vote-bank politics.
Certain standard statements can be expected that we are secularist and a democratic country, and everybody will get a fair trial or that the terrorists would never succeed in their mission.
If an accused is not satisfied, that the investigation (read that he is cleared and not chargesheeted), the Government especially near the elections is more than ready to hand over the case, to any other Government agency. If even that does not meet the approval of the accused or his supporters, some ever willing State Governments are willing to withdraw old cases, filed by the previous regimes, against the accused, on the ground that they were innocent, without even a shred of investigation or evidence. In some cases, the Government (read UP) offer even compensation to the family of the accused even in the case of natural deaths.
Infact, we have no specific laws against the terrorism in the country. Credibility of the Government in dealing with any terrorist or Naxalite activity is zero. Laws framed in 1863 requires that for every incident there should be at least two witnesses. In other words, when a terrorist incident happens, the outdated laws expect a witness to hide behind trees or other shelter, give not only a statement to the investigating officer, but also depose in the Court of law and be subjected to the cross examination by the Defence Counsel.
Which witness would be fool hardy to do it after eight to ten years, and expose himself to the revenge of the terrorists or Naxalites or other criminals. On the eve of Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kashmir, in an audacious terror strike , suspected terrorists, ( name is immaterial as their objective is to destroy India), on Monday, June 24, 2013 ambushed an Army convoy on the outskirts of the city, killing 8 jawans and seriously injuring 18 others.
Attack on June 24, comes two days after Hizbul Mujahideen militants gunned down two policemen in Srinagar. Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attack, through their spokesperson, who called up a local news agency and said several squads have been formed and similar attacks will be carried out in the city in the future as well.
Infact right from 1998 to 2009, either on the eve or on the day of the visits of three Indian Prime Ministers (in Gujral, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Dr Manmohan Singh, the terrorist killed a few innocents, just to welcome the Prime Ministers in their own style, apart from calling a strike to close the Valley.
When any question is raised as to the identity or religion of the terrorists, big lectures are given that we are a secular country and a democracy. We should not denigrate any community. This is unexceptionable and no body would differ with it. But it cannot be an excuse to dilly-dally in dealing with the terrorist.
Our problem is that we have not imposed any retribution, for any action against India as a nation, on either a terrorist group or their sponsors across the borders. Infact not only Indians, but our enemies, as well as our adversaries, believe, not without reasons, that we are a pushover or a soft State, which is incapable of sending any strong message.
Our leaders, from the safety of their security behave like a pigeon who closes his eyes, in the hope that the cat would not see it and not have a nice meal of it.
Because the Government did not take any action, and went out of the way, to please Kashmir Valley, 3.70 lakh Hindus and Sikhs ,who were a minority there, were compelled to become refugees in India, leaving behind their homes, hearth and property. This naturally emboldened the terrorists, who issue a calendar of strikes or call shots.
The media, has been faithfully reporting as to how Kashmir Valley has been Islamised, with all cinemas, beauty parlours, music and other forms of entertainment shut down. I am second to none in protecting the rights of all Indians, irrespective of their religion. But it does not stand to reason, to give a discriminatory treatment to some areas and to allow others to have a run of the governance, and doing as they please. Margret Thatcher, used to say that publicity is the oxygen of terrorism and had ensured that no media gives prominence to the terrorists in United Kingdom.
The Government has not publicly released any data on the incidents of terrorism in the country, except what the media or some portals dealing with terrorism report from time to time. According to one report, Jammu and Kashmir has been subjected to Pakistan-backed Islamist terrorist movement since 1988, with a total of 43,439 killings (till March 10, 2013). And still, there is a demand of all the people by the Jammu and Kashmir Government to remove AFSPA ( Armed Forces Special Powers Act) from there.
Our Government’s capacity for deluding the public is a record by itself. It is believed that from 1990 to 2012, the weapons seized are much more than the armies of 150 countries, who are the members of the United Nations . Of the total 193 member countries of the UN, only around 40 nations have a regular army strength of over 50,000 personnel
According to State officials, security forces have seized nearly 31,000 AK rifles of various series from the militants and their hideouts in the State since the eruption of terrorism in 1990. The security forces have also seized nearly 11,500 pistols, 1,027 universal machine guns, 79 carbines, 219 light machine guns, 69 general purpose machine guns, 295 rifles of .303 make and nearly 400 sniper rifles over the past 22 years. A massive quantity of ammunition for these weapons was also recovered during the counter-insurgency operations which included nearly 40 lakh AK rounds, 2.20 lakh pistol rounds, 1.27 lakh UMG rounds and 1.22 lakh belted ammunition rounds. The security forces also seized tonnes of explosives including nearly 13 ton RDX, over 6,000 IEDs, more than 63,000 grenades and nearly 70,000 detonators. They are enough to raise an army of more than 50,000 active personnel. Thanks to obsolete laws, and literally no punishment for perjury and non admissibility of the confession made before Police officials, hardly any terrorist has been punished. It will be worth while if the Government could inform the country, as to how many terrorists have been punished under the existing law. The way Government is treating the terrorism and the terrorist, shows that neither the Government has any policy to deal with the terrorism nor it has the intention of doing so (Na niyatt, na niti). This is just putting the country at the sweet will of the terrorists. There is a Punjabi saying that danda pir hey vigriya. tigidia da (Spare the rod and spoil the child).
Should the country reach the bottom, before it awakens or allow the terrorists to decimate it. Politics is thriving on clichés. Charles De Gaulle once said that since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word. I can only say, change the laws and strike hard against the enemies of the country.
(The writer is former Director, CBI)