Saturday, 29 June 2019



Whenever our nation is faced with a problem, our government is found lacking in will, not in power, to tackle the problem. This is especially the case so far as cross-border terrorism and fundamentalism is concerned. These two phenomena have done such a great harm to the nation that could not have been suffered during the full-fledged was that India has faced since independence. The lack of tough decision-making has let the world, the terrorists and the people believe that India is a soft state. We can cite many examples to prove this. Five dreaded terrorists were handed over to secure the release of a minister’s daughter to begin with. This trend has continued to this day. It was repeated again and again. A union minister himself escorts the terrorists for the release of passengers. A terrorist who has been pronounced guilty, is not being hanged, only to appease the feelings of some people. Not long before, we have sacrificed the lives of several hundred young soldiers to get terrorists evicted from the Kargil heights, only to learn later that the remaining terrorists would be given a safe passage to return. No doubt, India has miserably failed to take appropriate steps against the militants.

Let us find out if the executive is capable to act against terrorists and terrorist organizations. The Constitution of India provides that adequate action can be taken whenever situation so demands. The Fundamental Rights too are not absolute and are subject to several restrictions. Moreover, Article 22 provides the governments, both Central and State, to undertake preventive detention on the grounds of integrity and unity of the country and maintenance of law and order. There also exist provisions to impose internal and external emergencies which are we have experienced during various wars and Indira Gandhi’s regime. There have also existed certain laws in the past, which have often been termed ‘draconian’ such as TADA (Terrorist and Disruption Prevention Act), MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act) etc. Even today, the government has adequate powers in its hands in the form of IPC (Indian Penal Code, 1872), POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) etc. A few states have their own special acts to deal with various situations.

The pertinent question is why India is termed a soft state despite the existence of various enactments. Why is the government not able to take severe measures against terrorists and terrorist organizations? In the past there have been instances when strong steps have been taken; Operation Bluestar was one such step. Two reasons can be ascribed to this. One, the present era is that of coalition governments, in both centre and states. A coalition government needs to appease different coalition partners to remain in existence. Every political party perceives on and the same matter differently keeping in view its own interests and vote bank politics. It was easy to take bold decisions in the cabinet meetings, but these have become a thing of the past. Now most of the ministers like to leave the decision making power to the Prime Minister saving their own skins from the ugly job of the decision making. It is the reason why no concrete steps could be taken even when the largest mobilization of armed forces was ordered following the attack on the Parliament. And such attacks continue unabated.

We can safely conclude that it is execution and not enactment, that makes India a soft state. India will continue to suffer at the hands of terrorists from within the country and across the borders so long it continues to shy away from tough decision making. Tough decision making can alone ensure adequate steps to deal with this problem.



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