Published on Countercurrents.org (first on Mail Today), by Colin Gonsalves, 20 December, 2008.
One would have thought that after the Bombay attack and the public outpouring of resentment against politicians, that the establishment would get its act in order. One would expect that careful thought would go into the making of proposals to combat terrorism and to keep the people secure. Instead what do we find? The same old clichés and the usual attack on human rights activists.
What the people of India expected, was that the governments would give careful thought to making the police a professional fighting force oriented towards the security of the ordinary citizens of India rather than operating, as it does now, as the protectors of politicians. They also expected that the police would eliminate from its ranks the use of torture and the vice of corruption, two aspects of policing today that make the general public both distrustful and fearful of the police …
… All that would be necessary thereafter is for the Central Government to administratively upgrade the CBI. THOUGH it must be said to the credit of the Union Government that they have not succumbed to the temptation to introduce the draconian POTA provision authorising confessions to a police officer (which rendered POTA trials farcical), the reference to Left Wing Extremism in the Statements of Objects and Reasons is disappointing.
Naxalism has deep social roots in injustice, poverty and state violence, unlike the senseless terrorism of Pakistani agents. Like the IRA in Ireland, it must be recognised as a political tendency and negotiated with politically. The reasons for the growth of naxalism must be understood as requiring a radical shift from the inequities of globalisation to a more socialistic programme where the common person is treated with dignity. In the present political situation however, one can only see hysteria and the lack of reason. (full text).
(The writer is an eminent lawyer and civil rights activist).