Sunday, November 30, 2008

What should we do? Now that Mumbai carnage has ended.

I am writing this response to the lively discussion that is going on in our shoutbox about terrorism. My response to comments from cvrk and others...

What we see in most of the Middle East and North Africa, no doubt is terrorism, but of a civil war variety, barring what goes on in Palestine/Israel, which is pure civil war cum terrorism going hand in hand. The issue is not whether or not there is terrorism in those places. The issue on the table is: Is the rule of law prevailing there, to be dismissed as regressive?

When heinous crimes are committed, would it not be time to take a re-look at our humanitarian outlook of the rule of law? I think a time has come for the entire humanity to reconsider the definition of rule of law. Remember the fate meted out to William Wallace in the hands of the law of Longshanks? So heroically played out by Mel Gibson in Braveheart? Or remember Judge Dredd played by Sylvester Stallone? I wonder whether or not it is time we have such judges?

Tell the mother who has lost her son fighting terrorists that the present day rule of law forbids Longshanks laws. Plead with the wife who has lost her husband to let the captured terrorist serve a life term (which can effectively mean no more than 14 years) in jail and come out free; perhaps to commit more such attacks on release. Enjoin the mother of a Major Unnikrishnan or an Ameena Begum to be patient with the process of judicial system as the rule of law provides for a certain procedure to be followed before a terrorist can be sentenced. They do not know whether the rule of law sentences them at all and even if sentences, whether or not the sentences will be carried out ever! Remember Afzal Guru? Even after being convicted more than three years ago, he still is ensconsed safely in Tihar jail. Perhaps biding his time to come out one day and may be he will succeed the next time to bomb the very President of India who gave him clemency!!

It is this that I am riling against. Asking and getting the head of home minister, a chief minister or the government is not the solution. Not even bombing the country which supported such activities,as experience has shown that such bombing has only complicated the matter rather than finding a solution. An America could do it because it did so in addition to what it has done by way of strengthening the anti-terror infrastructure. It is time for the entire humanity to sit up and take notice that the kind of rule of law that we have in place is not simply delivering results. The political system that we have kept in place has miserably failed to protect the life of the common man. While the common man is felled by the terrorist bullets, why should there be VIPs, VVIPs and VVVIPs who are protected by NSG? Let such protection be there only for a few like the President, the PM, the Speaker and the Chief Justice of India. When the common man is vulnerable to the bullets of the terrorists, let the Home Minister of the country also be equally vulnerable to the same bullets. Is it not after all his duty to ensure that the country remains a safe place to dwell? As much as sons, daughters, wives and husbands appear replaceable / substitutable in the ethos of these VVIPs, let them also know that they are also equally replaceable. What if one home minister falls to a bullet? There will be somebody who will be ready and eager to occupy his gaddi.