Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Begin with a Respect for the Rule of Law

As this article makes clear, what happened in Mumbai was a tragedy of errors--an ill-prepared state security apparatus uncer the control of hidebound bureaucrats and politicians better known for breaking the laws than abiding by them, up against a group that was professionally trained and motivated to create the maximum amount of havoc. Playing the blame game with Pakistan is a waste of energy--we have to begin with ourselves.

Why are we such a soft target for terrorists? Is it because our criminal justice system barely functions, and is held ransom to the whims and fancies of whichever party is in power? Evidently, Afzal Guru's mercy petition, submitted to the President of India, is still with the Delhi government, which has yet to express its opinion on it after four long years. Why the delay?

As we have seen with the Aarushi and Rizwan cases, our police force is not known for its investigative skills. And now the various terrorist attacks we have faced prove that is is incapable of protecting the lives of citizens. A news item in Headlines Today described the bolt-action .303 rifles issued to Mumbai policemen--they do not know how to fire these and were hopelessly outgunned by the terrorists.

So why not begin by freeing police forces of political control? Why don't our politicians and bureaucrats let the cops conduct their investigations without fear or favour? Why not give them world-class training, equipment and living standards, to attract India's best and brightest, instead of her most corrupt? If we begin by cracking down on ALL crime, we might not require a special terror law.

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