Chief Justice Lahoti’s parting remarks

India needs to summon political will to defeat terrorism

And this one comes from the apex of India’s judicial system — India’s legislators have failed to cut through the dense fog of political expediency and create the framework for the state to defeat terrorism.

“Has anyone thought why there has not been a single instance of terror in USA post-9/11 unlike India where such attacks occur almost every day? The difference lies in the desire to study the problem scientifically and take remedial measures,” Justice Lahoti said.

“We do not have the political will to fight terrorism”, he said underlining the need for new legislation. “When new challenges come, new solutions also have to found. Terrorism is a gift of the last century…Terrorist acts require an altogether new type of investigation. It (terrorism) requires new laws and new methodologies. A study should be conducted to identify the causes and suggest remedies. But there is no serious study in our country,” he said. [IE]

He didn’t quite say it, but there is much that the executive branch of government can do to fight terrorism even under existing laws. That needs political will too. If it had even a miniscule bit of political will to tackle terrorism, the Manmohan Singh-Sonia Gandhi government would have used the terrorist attacks on New Delhi to set aside that travesty called the Common Minimum Programme and take the fight to the terrorists. It is unlikely to do so. And that’s a tragedy too.

4 thoughts on “Chief Justice Lahoti’s parting remarks”

  1. Political will not just for a domestic security and response but majorly by the external affairs office and the foreign ministry too, as terrorism is an international phenomenon. Justice Lahoti is absolutely on the mark.

  2. Mr. Brahma Chellaney has similar scathing opinion on WSJ on 10/31. It may be unfair to compare US and India. Beyond American’s almost unlimited resources compared to India’s self-perpetuated resource crunch decade after decade, US can pretty much invade any country that hurts its interest (some would say even countries that do not) and US neighbor, say, Mexico does not have terror camps in Tijuana with sympathizers living in US. 10 million illegal immigrants in US says something about how lucky US has been since 9/11.

    On other hand, Indian “civil societies” seem to be more interested in protecting the perpetrators than victims as the chorus for repelling POTA, instead of modifying it for protecting innocent as done by US congress with its Patriot Act, shows that it is not just politicians who lack the will but other “elements” in India who are opposed to fighting terror including large extent of Indian media.

  3. Wonder what new laws are required. Its not the laws but the will that is required. EXECUTE the terrorists once we get all the information we can get. Would Jaish-e-Mohammed be there, had Maulana Masood Azhar been killed after he was captured? Would Daniel Pearl be killed, had Ahmed Omar Sayed Sheikh been killed after he was captured.

    Terrorists made lot of efforts to get the release of these guys. Al-Faran kidnappings were also for the release of these idiots. We knew that the terrorists might strike again with more kidnappings to get their release. The easiest option would have been to execute all of them. We hadn’t done that and are paying the price. We will continue to pay the price as long as we try to ‘deal’ with the terrorists and their sponser. The ‘root cause’ of terrorism is Pakistan and not ‘freedom struggle’

  4. I firmly agree the government needs to do more to tackle terrorism; but laws like POTA are part of teh problem, not the solution. Why do I say that? Because enactment of such laws lulls the public into complacency, and enables politicians to grandstand (i.e. “look how tough we are on terrorists!”); but given that however well-intentioned the law, POTA was passed in a great hurry, and its system of safeguards was sloppy at best, combined with a woefully politicized police force (also not up to snuff particularly in rural areas) meant that POTA became more known for the 12-year old child who was booked in Jharkand, or Muslim riot-victims in Gujarat, than any terrorists that it nabbed or any terrorism deterred. I’d like the government to get serious about combatting terrorism– then maybe I won’t roll my eyes when I hear about proposals for yet another law that chips away at Indians’ constitutional protections; after the disasters of TADA and POTA, I think I’m right to be skeptical.

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