Finally, a bold editorial on the Iraqi kidnapping

Late, but kudos to the Indian Express

Even as the Indian government stoops lower and lower, it is heartening to see the Indian Express display the cojones so very lacking in the Indian media’s reaction to the kidnapping of Indian citizens by Iraqi terrorists.

Dont feed the terror: Appeasement of terrorist — perversely called “freedom fighters” by some — can hardly be a viable policy to deal with terrorism when the world is supposed to be at war with the phenomenon of terrorism. For us in India it is very important to adopt an objective approach to the hostage-taking in Iraq. Our sympathies are with the captured persons and their families, of course. And we must apply political pressure on those responsible for law and order in Iraq while pursuing all possible diplomatic option for the safe release of Indian truck drivers being held hostage. But that should not divert our focus from the reality that what we are dealing with is nothing but terrorism. And that we must under no circumstances capitulate to the demands of terrorists. We have had our share of terrorist hostage-taking in J&K over the years. And if the incidence of such lawless activity has come down in recent times, it is essentially due to a firm resolve not to strike deals with criminals. Whenever we have given in to the demands of terrorists, as the IC-814 hijacking showed, the final costs to the nation — to innocent citizens — has been overwhelmingly higher.

The government must know that its response to the hostage crisis in Iraq could have direct, and grave, repercussions within India. Kidnappings often inspire me-too adventurism and the last thing we need is for the Central government to signal its willingness to do business with terrorists. The Indira Gandhi government’s decision not to deal with Ravindra Mhatre’s kidnappers in 1984, for instance, must have been a painful one to take, but in hindsight it was correct. [IE]

Looking back at history, it appears that the only Indian prime minister who dealt with terrorism as it should was the much reviled Indira Gandhi. Instead of displaying the rubberiness of the government’s collective backbone, Nutwar Singh would do well to take inspiration from his former boss and stand up to terrorism. Manmohan Singh’s leadership, meanwhile, is conspicuous by its absence.

11 thoughts on “Finally, a bold editorial on the Iraqi kidnapping”

  1. i agree completely with you. one of the things that sickened me, both this time and when the IA flight got hijacked to Kandahar – were the scenes of wailing Indians, pressurising their government to make peace with terrorists. It just encourages the terrorist to go out and take more Indian hostages.
    No negotiation with terrorists should be a stated Indain policy, no matter what the complexion of the government of the day, or the political ideologies followed by its people.

  2. Nitin,
    First of all I didn’t comment in reply to ur post… rather it was in response to the comment by Harini…If the kidnapped victims were our loved ones we wouldn’t be writing stuff like no compromise, no giving in, etc.

    In this particular case I think if we can get these poor souls back in India by paying a ransom…then the govt should go for it…. and make sure no Indian remain in/goes to Iraq till Americans leave and a popular Iraqi govt is elected.

    At least in this instance Natwar Singh the present foreign minister unlike pseudo-nationalist BJP’s Jaswant Singh wouldn’t be escorting hardcore terrorists to freedom in return for the lives of these poor souls.

  3. RS,

    It is exactly that sentiment that makes us soft. India released Masood Azhar and Omar Sheikh in return for the 100 over poor souls on IC-814; but Masood Azhar promptly formed the Jaish-e-Mohammed that killed hundreds more innocent Indians. So that was a bad bargain, even from the point of view of saving the lives of those ‘poor souls’.

    The response of the state should be in the direction of discouraging another terrorist from taking an Indian hostage – a deterrent. Negotiating with terrorists and kidnappers, or worse acceding to their demands buys only insecurity.

    From a selfish point of view, you might say that the government must take a bold attitude because you dont want your loved ones to end up kidnapped for whatever reason.

  4. Hi RS
    If my folks were hostage – i would be definitely be shattered.
    but you cannot compromise with terrorists. If they see u compormise once and release hostages or pay ransom or what ever, they will do it again, and again, and again. There is only one way of dealing with this sort of a crisis and we need to look at how the Israeli’s got their people out of Entebbe (spelling)
    Incidentally, I am and have never been a supporter of the NDA – and i thougth that Jaswant singh looked like a complete ass -especially after his party’s hardline position, – when he escorted a mass murderer to his freedom

  5. Hi Shikhar
    i guess national interest goes beyond the party or parties that we support. pseudo nationalist is not my word for the BJP. i am sure that they love this country as much as u or I do.
    As far as the blame game is concerened, i wouldn’t blame either the media or the politician – but the people. we don’t seem to have a “national” perspectiev when it comes to these kind of crisis. We want the army to go and die for us where ever, but when it comes to ourselves, then scenes similar to those when the IA hijack happened are the norm.

  6. Shikhar,
    The people convicted in the Purulia arms drop case were convicted for waging war against India and pseudo-nationalist BJP-led NDA released them on “request” (or was that arm twisting) from Russia and UK. Don’t tell me that they were released to strengthen our “strategic relations” with Russia and UK.

    Yes, our English media is wimpish…so is the vernacular press…nobody in the media had the guts to ask the NDA why they released these convicts.

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