Expensive mistakes on national security

Yes, it was the UPA’s political persuasions that got in the way of fighting terrorists

On June 8th, 2004, the UPA government presented its programme in parliament, in the president’s speech:

My government is concerned about the misuse of POTA in the recent past. While there can be no compromise on the fight against terrorism, the Government is of the view that existing laws could adequately handle the menace of terrorism. The Government, therefore, proposes to repeal POTA. [IBEF, emphasis added]

In his address to the Governor’s Conference, on September 17th, 2008, four years and umpteen acts of terrorism later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared:

The public debate on the issue of terrorism has, unfortunately, tended to get driven by politics, and has centered on certain laws enacted or repealed by Governments of different political persuasions. Our Government has no fixed, inflexible or ideological view in this regardWe are actively considering legislation to further strengthen the substantive anti-terrorism law in line with the global consensus on the fight against terrorism. [PMO, emphasis added]

Dr Singh’s sanctimoniousness, as usual, is gratuitous. If the issue with POTA was “basically (related) to the procedural aspects of investigation and prosecution of terrorism related offences”, and the need was to “address the apprehensions”, then surely repealing the entire act (instead of amending it) is not merely about the UPA government being wrong its view about the efficacy of “existing laws”. It is about a deliberate decision to subordinate internal security to political persuasions.

As for attributing the need to change to a global consensus, Dr Singh is on an even weaker wicket. That global consensus—to the extent that the term is even meaningful—was much stronger in 2004 than it is now. Even so, that Dr Singh should say—even for the purposes of saving face—that the ‘global consensus’ should determine India’s internal security policies reveals just how lost he and his government are on this subject. (Mercifully, he did not think that the global consensus on nuclear non-proliferation ought to determine India’s nuclear weapons policy)

10 thoughts on “Expensive mistakes on national security”

  1. Can we refer to the “umpteen terror attacks” as the Manmohan Genocide?

    Is not the act of deliberate emasculating security agencies, ostensibly to prevent the “maligning” of a “certain community”, directly resulting in a huge body count (second only to Iraq) a crime against humanity, a genocide?

    Or is it excusable since these people are faceless, nameless indians, and not members of a particular “community” who promptly give maudlin press-conferences every time the finger of suspicion points at one of their own?

  2. @AG: Why name it after MMS? he’s just a clerk, a tool, an instrument for Sonia Gandhi to carry out her agenda.

  3. AG,

    Can we refer to the “umpteen terror attacks” as the Manmohan Genocide?

    No. You can’t. The term “genocide” has an exact meaning and legal definition, and using it to describe any kind of killing would discount the severity of that crime.

    Using such terms loosely, as your screaming television hosts and talking heads are prone to do, is counterproductive.

  4. AG, terrorist attacks are terrorist attacks. Even though Manmohan may not do anything about it, I don’t know why anyone should call the attacks genocide – for one thing every pedestrian around the attacks can be killed irrespective of what genetic make up they have. As Nitin says it’s very loaded term.

  5. These days the fastest way to get global publicity is to toss in the term ‘genocide’ or ‘pogrom’ into the narrative…
    There’s got to be some way of ensuring that these terms are not to be used loosely…

  6. The PM’s latest utterance of sagacity stems from the fear his spin doctors must have put into him: that BJP will effectively use the utter, manifest failure of his Government to contain, leave alone eliminate, terrorism as an election propaganda. Heart of hearts his Government loves terrorism, only if it is of Islamic variety and only if the victims are not of the political class but innocent citizens. The basic myopia is not to see terrorism as plain terrorism, but as Islamic terrorism and therefore deserving of sympathy and understanding. The Indian political class and the erudite English media stop in their tracks abruptly the moment the word ‘Islam’ or ‘Muslim’ is uttered and quickly change their specs. The kind of determination, oneness of purpose one witnessed when dealing with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination has to be on display here even when one citizen is killed in a terrorist attack. The Government and the intelligentia are fervently hoping that the mujahideens will be cloyed, blase with blowing human bodies into smithereens and one day they would tire of killing innocents. For, as the eminent Home Minister said the terrorists can strike at any place at any time at will and if they have not killed more people, it is only on account of their kindness. One has to be grateful of such mercies.

  7. Genocide according to Merriam Webster

    “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group”
    (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genocide)

    Clear, broad and hardly loaded.

    One can define “peace loving, innocent, unarmed indians” as a “cultural group”? No?

    Its the almost exclusive use of the word by the very same Talking Heads you refer to for describing “Gujarat” that we somehow associate genocide with religion.

  8. Genocide-the systematic killing of all the people from a national, ethnic, or religious group,— or an attempt to do this(seems someone forgot to add this bit of crucial information)
    Mophlah, Godhra, Darfur here a blast there a blast, everywhere a blast blast Kafir kafir kill kill earn paradise with seventy parees all yours for a handful of kafirs- ticket to paradise(Azamgarh, UP, huh??)
    (look up for hallucination,delusion, Schizophrenia,Paraphilias)

  9. MMS likely knows he won’t be Sonia’s choice for PM next time, in the unlikely event the INC manouvres post-poll alliances again and manages to reach power in 2009. That and the fact that he’s a notoriously uninspirational speaker and leader of people, I have to wonder why he bothers talking about terrorism at all. Its not as if he intends to do anything about it…

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