In a judicial ruling with enormous implications for the war on terrorism in the United States, India and across the world, an American court has endorsed the view that “one country’s terrorist can often be another country’s freedom fighter.”
A San Francisco Court of Appeals cited this controversial observation while ordering US immigration officials to release a Bay Area Sikh activist, Harpal Singh Cheema, who has been held for six years in US jails for aiding terrorists in India.
The court ruled 2-1 — a split verdict with a dissenting note — that an immigrant “noncitizen’s financial support of foreign terrorists does not automatically make one a danger to US national security.” Times of India
It was probably to guard against such outcomes that the Bush administration set up Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay. Just like the CBI in India, the US INS in this case was not able to convince the court that Harpal Singh was indeed a threat to national security. The question is whether national security should be held dependent on the competence of bureaucrats or lawyers? All this arises from a perspective that terrorism is an act of serious crime. It is not. It is an act of war. Just like during war time, it is sometimes necessary to take a less accomodating approach to civil liberties.