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Does India need a Prevention of Terrorism Act?

May 19, 2008

Jaipur BlastsThe Jaipur blasts where 80 people died and many more were injured is a terrible blow to the nation… and all of us have only one question on our minds:

What is the government doing about terrorism?

I had discussed 11 reasons why India finds it tough to tackle terrorism…reasons ranging from poor intelligence and lack of stringent law enforcement to the rampant corruption in the system and the politician-terrorist nexus.

However, the general consensus in the opposition (BJP) seems to be that the central government is adopting “soft attitude” towards terrorism.. Examples put forward are inability to curb the activities of banned organisations like Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), the failure to go ahead with the executing the death sentence of convicted terrorist Afzal Guru and repealing laws like POTA (Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act) which allowed the police to detain terror suspects without the filing of charges, amongst other things.

The BJP wants POTA
Immediately after the Jaipur blasts, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje (of the opposition ruled government in Rajasthan) said that “we are in the middle of a war” and “we require a strong law to tackle these people” clearly hinting that POTA should be brought back.
Expectedly Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the previous Wednesday said that:

The existing law of POTA has been repealed without making adequate provisions to deal with terrorist threats. States have been rendered helpless without proper legal backing to deal with such situations. While many nations world over strengthened their anti-terror laws after the 9/11 incident, our country has taken retrograde steps by abolishing POTA…

Sushma Swaraj has also said that POTA was anti-criminal and not against the minorities…

Well, the BJP is clamoring to bring back POTA, which they feel will help nab terrorists. So is this the solution India needs?

Some countries have similar laws
The USA and Britain, which face terrorist threats, have similar laws. For example, the United Kingdom has had such laws for the last 30 years, initially to deal with trouble in Ireland. The terrorism laws were modified as time went on and now the United Kingdom has a fairly stringent anti-terrorism legislation which it went ahead with despite criticism from human rights groups. In fact there are those in the British establishment who want to strengthen the law by allowing terror suspects to be detained without charge for 42 days, not just 28 days as is the case now.

The United States, passed the Patriot Act after the 9/11 blasts in New York and even though some harsh provisions in the Act were to expire after some years, they mostly didn’t. This act allows indefinite detentions of immigrants and searches without the owner’s or the occupant’s permission or knowledge.

Australia not only allows police to detain suspects for up to two weeks without charge, it has a “shoot to kill” clause in its anti-terrorism law.

So it seems logical that India should have one too…or does it?
Well, India certainly faces a greater terrorist threat, if one goes by the number of terrorism incidents and for the length of time that we are suffering. So that is a good case for the introduction of POTA….however not many Muslims will agree, and frankly if I were a Muslim I would not agree either. I have heard of too many horror stories of the misuse of these laws, in both India and abroad.

In principle, a law like POTA seems fine, but unfortunately in execution it can be horrific. It’s easy for us in the majority community to say that POTA should be reintroduced but what if you were a Muslim? What would you feel if a close relative whom you knew to be innocent…or wait, why take an example of a close relative? Let us imagine for a second that you yourself are picked up for questioning and held for days without charge. I have tried to put myself in this position, and at the same time have tried to think of the importance of protecting our country from terrorist threats which leads to the death of innocent lives.

The problems with anti-terrorism laws
1. I am okay with a harsh law to protect this nation, but only if the state machinery did its job properly. If I was mostly sure that my innocence would be proved within say a month or two, if I was sure that the police did not hold any racist hatred towards my community, then I could say yes to a law like POTA. Sure, mistakes do happen, but one is not talking of mistakes, because if 10 wrong people are caught, harassed and tortured for every one who is found guilty, then I would certainly fear POTA. In fact even if one innocent person amongst ten guilty was convicted wrongly, I would fear POTA…

Khuda Ke Liye 22. While laws like POTA are often misused all over the world, I feel the situation is worse in India. Here the police routinely use torture to extract confessions. Plus, there is no transparency in police or government functioning in India. I mean, just look at the way Australia reacted when it was discovered that Haneef was innocent…why even the courts favoured him and today there is an inquiry to find out why he was framed. Its very difficult for such a thing to happen in India even though we have many Haneefs here!

3. Harsh anti-terrorism laws can be counterproductive if they are misused. They often give a feeling of invincibility to the police who might tend to overreact, particularly immediately after a terrorist attack, arresting people indiscriminately and torturing innocent people. The police also might indulge in revenge attacks if they harbor racist feelings towards the community. This can only alienate the population of the minority community…and that is exactly what the terrorists want! They want to create a divide between different groups. In fact what they like best is an immediate revenge attack and the massacre of their own people by the majority community. If this doesn’t happen, they look forward to police excesses as it gives their cause more nobility and alas…more recruits.

Possible approaches
We need to win the people over…that is one way to ensure that the terrorist get no recruits. More important, if the locals find such recruits (in the form of sleeper cells), they should feel confident that they can turn them over without they themselves being harassed or suspected. Or they should have the confidence that if they simply suspect someone and make a complaint, that person will not be needlessly tortured and/or framed. What we need is the support of the public, without which I don’t think terrorism can ever be contained.

So, if I were to answer the question raised in the title of this post, I would that yes, India does need an anti-terrorism law, but first it needs to strengthen its law enforcement machinery, overhaul a system which allows just about anyone with money to purchase a passport, a ration card and other papers which help create a fake identity, bring more transparency to the system and prove that errant policemen are severely punished for misusing the law. Another group of people who need to face severe punishment are those who provide fake passports.

(Photo credits: The first photo is from mynews.in and the second one is a clip of a man being tortured in the film Khuda ke Liye)

Related Reading: What are the reasons for our terrorism deaths?
Technology can help us strengthen our anti-terrorism infrastructure
Some reasons why educated people can get sucked into terrorism
Foreign students are not checked and anyone can buy Indian citizenship
Too few policemen in India
Too many policemen on security duty in India

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2008 8:26 am

    Nita:
    India first needs a system that prevents corruption. Only then can a law with such draconian overtones be sane. The fact remains that corruption is the offspring of socialism. Unless we free our economy we cannot free our citizens. Till we realise this hard truth, we will go nowhere. Maybe just a bit more downhill.

  2. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 19, 2008 8:35 am

    Nita, Rambodoc:

    It is important to be clear about what constitutes terrorism. In the absence of such definition, it would be all too easy for anyone with an axe to grind, to brand someone a terrorist an then deal with them “under the law.”

  3. May 19, 2008 9:21 am

    Terrorism can be effectively controlled
    1. by the government without any tough law like POTA
    2. by the citizens ie by the public
    Terrorists thrive in this country because of free flow of terror funding. If the government can stop flow of money to terrorists, terrorism to great extent will reduce.
    Also the public awareness about terrorists has to increase. Terrorists look like us and they speak our language. All of a sudden terrorists don’t carry out these attacks. They do lot of planning to carry out an attack. They easily mingle with local people without getting identified and they get direct or indirect support from our citizens. All of us have to be little more alert before renting out a house. Any stranger has to be strictly watched. Government alone can not tackle terrorism.

  4. batguano101 permalink
    May 19, 2008 10:10 am

    If India wants to go Nazi, by all means implement a terrorist act.

    I have traveled India and do not think Fascist practices fit the nation.

    Please excuse us in the USA.

  5. May 19, 2008 10:19 am

    i feel we need to think of the people who commit themselves to terrorism.what is the reason they do that for? frankly BJP should be in jail,if we were implement POTA(yesterday i was watching a programme on the southern ayodhya in karn’taka)..i know it is impossible to keep every satisfied,but there is enough evidence in history that it is not completely impossible…

    what leads people to commit to aggression might be the fact that they were affected by the ‘other’ people.so we first need to solve the internal problems.then will be the international terrorists;what did the US gain by bombing AFG and IRAQ? it has lead to more hatred(remember the jail photos?) and resentment among the people,so there again we need to do something.

    we as earth citizens,should also remember that we all belong to one village now. for the better of humanity we need to atleast act like we love each other and if we do that,it might turn into real love..

    and i doubt if the terror attacks in jaipur would have had this much attention,if not for the royals team….

    this was my initial reaction to the blasts…

  6. vivek mittal permalink
    May 19, 2008 12:19 pm

    Rather intelligence agencies of our country should be made more efficient and be given more authority…………….Prime Minister’s suggestion to form a central police to deal with terrorism looks good and GoI should act promptly on the matter

  7. May 19, 2008 2:51 pm

    Laws are good, if its enforced honestly. But then these are lacking wtih our police, honesty and law enforcement.
    They bully the public already and with POTA, its taken to the next level.
    Like you said, the common man should not be tortured or framed if he has information about suspected terrorists. I guess many would know details, but would keep quiet coz of the legal troubles they may have to face. If there would have been a clean and efficient system, i guess we cud nab most of the terrorists in hiding.

  8. May 19, 2008 3:51 pm

    निता,

    I think that India does not need an anti-terrorism law! Even in countries where the media, civil society and lawyers have a conscience, like in Australia, the damned federal government of John Howard(the only sitting Australian Prime Minister who was defeated in his own constituency) misused the law. But the conscientious Australian media, civil society and lawyers stood up for the human rights of a foreigner! I salute the Australians for that, no matter how racist some of them may be!

    Constrast that with a country like India, where some people label a community that makes up nearly 16% of the population as “terrorists”, “Pakistanis”, “Bangladeshis”,etc. The “mainstream” media, criminal society and the like want to tarnish an entire community and harass them.

    Take the third rate movies dished out by Bollywood, for instance. Indian Muslims are always portrayed as “terrorists” while Pakistanis are portrayed as friends. Shame on the notorious scoundrels who dish out those crappy third grade movies of Bollywood!

    Ofcourse, one may say that Bollywood has a right (to trample upon the freedom of others?) to do that in a “free” country, but no one will stand up for the artistic freedom of students in a university department that was vandalised by goons! Ofcourse, one may argue that Hollywood portrays Arabs as terrorists, but the important difference here is that those Arabs are not shown as citizens of the U.S.A. They are portrayed as foreigners. Here we have the notorious scoundrels and underworld dons who finance Bollywood portaying members of the second largest community in India as “terrorists”.

    The law is an ass! Filthy laws like POTA, TADA, AFSPA and other bags of shit should be thrown into the sewer where they belong!

    विवेकसाहेब / વિવેકભાઈ,

    Ah, I see you don’t follow the filthy capitalist, imperialist propaganda! Didn’t you know that killing a million people and looting all their oil is not terrorism? Didn’t you know that killing half a million children by denying them medicines is not terrorism? Didn’t you know that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not terrorism? Didn’t you know that spraying Agent Orange on forests in Vietnam is not terrorism?

    Didn’t you know that training the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda terrorists and arming them to fight the government of Najibullah is not terrorism? Didn’t you know that “bombing a country back to the Stone Age” is not terrorism? Didn’t you know that imprisoning an entire part of a country and denying them even the most basic necessities after collecting taxes from them is not terrorism?

    Ofcourse, you would not know that because you are a socialist! And socialism is a crime! State sponsored terrorism is sanctioned by God and the law!

    Into that heaven of Freedom of thought, my Father, let the world awake!

  9. May 19, 2008 4:56 pm

    Hmmm . . . very nice of the BJP to talk of the UPA’s “soft attitude” towards terrorism. Let me recall the words of Dr. Manmohan Singh, the so-called “weakest Prime Minister that India has ever had” in Parliament:

    It was a “shameful” sight to see the External Affairs Minister of the NDA government “escorting” the terrorists to Kandahar.

    Now, I want to know if such a “shameful” act is “hard” on terrorism?

  10. May 19, 2008 5:46 pm

    Yes but ONLY when we are sure of transparency and honesty.
    And Dog knows what god knows!!!

    .
    .
    .
    .
    P.S. confused about last line? see this

  11. May 19, 2008 6:04 pm

    u said – but first it needs to strengthen its law enforcement machinery, overhaul a system
    true and very true -but who will bell the cat? and which politician will let go of the police ? an effective weapon to curtail peoples rights – remember how the yfe protests were crushed ?

    what about two of ur own posts
    https://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/poor-people-to-police-ratio/
    https://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2007/08/31/too-many-policemen-on-security-duty-in-india/
    have things changed ??

    Most pandus on the street rule by fear and all the country s citizens are scared of confronting them

    isnt this getting rather common
    http://techntrek.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/vigilante-action-or-an-act-of-desparation/

    not only this i had read a gangster serial rapist who was also a political supporter was lynched in some rural area in front of a court by women during recess for the fear of him being freed by the court ?

    overall if common crimes cant be solved by the current machinary what of terrorists with backing and refined planning (after all these bombings)

    Do remember the stock mkt blasts 94? whose aftermath i witnessed still serve as a blueprint to most bombings worldwide…

    do u know that a central govt that is against POTA at the national level – mainly because of pseudo secular goals rather than whether it is truely needed or not – plays double standards?
    Why does it need a MCOCCA in mumbai and maharashtra?

    after reading We need to win the people over
    id like to tell u that the current crop of simi activists are no common people they also constitute the educated doctors and engineers – tell me what made the london train bombers do their deed?

    so tell me is it not vital to have a specialised force to tackle terrorists ? those that have been given specialised training in terrorism ? remember the taliban or its ofshoots are battle hardy and experienced terrorists – some trained by ex
    read
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Storks_(Mujahideen)#History

    also interesting keywords to read are Caliphate and mamluks

    i have no problem with an anti terror law that is more clearly defined even if ithas some ambiguity- but the upa has no politicial will
    the major problem here is no agency be it the police the ib or the cbi is independent from the govt intervention
    and people in this country live inspite of its politicans many of whom are a necessary menace to society

  12. May 19, 2008 7:01 pm

    Rambodoc, I am with you there. I think Socialism has ruined our country…

    Vivek K, agree completely! Personal revenge will be easy to extract…

    Old Sailor, I think that is the key…public surveillance…

    batguano101, it doesn’t suit the nation, but it suits some politicians and fascist is a kind word for them!

    Vishesh, I agree, people living in glass houses should not throw stones…

    Vivek M, Intelligence departments are never given any priority unfortunately, neither in manpower or in funding. And when they do give intelligence, the govts. ignore it!

    Xylene,
    a sad situation in our country isn’t it when the politicians have such a grip on the police. Unless the police have autonomy nothing will improve.

    Raj, I too admire the way Australia stood up for a foreigner…we have a lot to learn from Australia. On an individual level they may be racist (thats what I have heard from those who live in Australia) but the groups there stand up for human rights and the govt. has to bow to them!

    Suda,
    transparency and honesty can only come with stronger institutions like the judiciary for example. It seems a long long time away…

    Prax, those two posts of mine that you mentioned, by some chance I updated them today as just yesterday Manmohan gave out some statistics about the issue. I have decided to link them to the main post now. About the terror law, the main thing that is worrying is that it will be misused. You are right ofcourse that the politicians who are opposing it are doing it for political reasons, but lets also remember that those who want the terror law are also doing it for political reasons. Overall, I think none of these parties, those against terror laws or those for terror laws really care about what happens to India. Well, that is what I feel. I have very little respect for politicians on the whole.

  13. May 19, 2008 7:12 pm

    First, I didn’t know that “Dog knows what God knows” would be used on such sensitive topics.😉 Something like Kalashnikov didn’t know that AK-47 will be used by people on other side of the law.

    Second, Law should be lax while its implementation or enforcement should be strict, while in India its vice-versa. Laws are tough and they cannot be enforced, leading to their total failure and also disrespect of entire law system in India, also including any anti-terrorism laws etc.

    Off topic:For eg: In delhi its illegal for a car to have music system or to play music in a running car, something that cannot be enforced.

  14. May 19, 2008 7:47 pm

    hey Nita,
    I am writing for the first time, although i am regularly reading your blog(for the past 2 weeks), and you are doing a great job.

    i think it’s clear fact that Police here misuses it’s power. Whether it’s traffic police who takes bribes on road or men in khaki who look for oppurtunities like any constuction work going on in their area, and they charge money, and that too politely. Hence Police can’t be trust. Hence POTA is just can’t be trust, until some proper and serious work is done towards security system.
    Well it is said we got independence through Ahimsa, hence we can solve the problem of terrorism through love and affection.

  15. May 19, 2008 8:08 pm

    When Rajasthan raised illegal immigrant issue last year, Home Ministry asked State to handle it on its own and said that Rajasthan should put Bangladeshi infiltrators in refugee camps. Hitting back at Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on the Bangladeshi migrants issue, the Centre has refuted her charge and said that her statement only exposed her ‘weakness’ in tackling terrorism. The refutation is most ambiguous and does not specifically say that the Hon’ble chamcha of Sonia Gandhi (read Shivraj Patil, the Home Minister) did not advise Rajasthan CM to handle the issue on its own and put the illegal migrants in ‘camps’.
    It is a pity that the vote bank politics prevents India from tackling terrorism in a structured manner. Both the UPA and NDA are to blame because both are guarding their respective vote banks and there is a plenty of rhetoric.

  16. May 19, 2008 8:11 pm

    This is a response to those who say that POTA should not be promulgated because it is misused.
    If the police is misusing any law, that is no excuse not to have the law. If that principle is followed, we should be a lawless society because the neta-babu nexus flouts every single law.
    We as the civil society have to accept the challenge and ensure that laws are obeyed by acting as pressure groups.

  17. vish permalink
    May 19, 2008 8:49 pm

    “…..Didn’t you know that dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not terrorism? Didn’t you know that spraying Agent Orange on forests in Vietnam is not terrorism? ”

    Raj, you missed Singur and Nandigram in the above list!

  18. May 19, 2008 9:27 pm

    If anything resembling the Patriot Act is introduced in India, I’d be very very disappointed – the act is useless, and is aimed only to provide powers beyond imagination to the authorities. I have seen the Patriot Act being misused first-hand, when my friends were held for “questioning” in new york city, for no apparent reason… We were standing around in times square, taking pictures when the cops came… Two of my friends were taken to be interrogated just because they were Muslim..!! They were “questioned” (read as Harrassed) for close to three hours, and at one point of time, they were threatened with imprisonment and deportation!! They were graduate students, for god’s sake!! I am absolutely disgusted by this Patriot Act and the powers of God that it accords to the law enforcement authorities! I shudder to imagine what it might do to these already power-hungry, greedy indian cops!!

  19. May 19, 2008 10:05 pm

    விஷ்,

    Ofcourse, those are also acts of state terrorism! Communist or capitalist, power will always be misused! That is why we must take away power from a few who are sure to misuse it and give it to society, so that it will not be misused! That is the very basis of socialism, as it has society as the power centre and not a few corrupt people. Socialism is an advanced form of democracy! Those who believe in capitalism will never, ever understand this!😦

    Our country was not ruined because of socialism. We never had socialism. All we had was a mixed economy that was ruined by the licence raj.

  20. May 19, 2008 10:21 pm

    Raj, Socialism has ruined the country and the evidence is there to see. I know only the kind of Socialism, the one that was in India and that is what I am referring to….if there is another kind of socialism you are referring to, I think this post is not the right place for disucss it really! I am a realist, and I believe in responsible capitalism but socialism will ruin the country…and it had pushed us into the brink of disaster, and do remember that I am referring to the socialism of India. But frankly, I do not want to discuss this as I have said it again and again on various posts. These are my political views and let us please agree to disagree, like me and Vivek have decided to agree to disagree.
    I repeat I am a capitalist and will remain so until the day I die!!

    p.s. a lot of people mistake me to have socialist ideas because I believe that industries should be responsible, but no, I abhor the concepts of socialism!

  21. May 19, 2008 10:22 pm

    Nikhil,

    // We were standing around in times square, taking pictures when the cops came . . . I shudder to imagine what it might do to these already power-hungry, greedy indian cops!! //

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Convention_Against_Torture

    If that is the case in a country which has ratified the U.N. Convention against torture and where Human Rights organisations have some teeth, imagine what would happen in a country like ours which has deliberately chosen not to ratify it after signing it and where everything is criminalised and where Human Rights organisations have almost no power . . . it is an open invitation to breed terrorism . . . the effect of filthy draconian laws will never be understood unless one is at the receiving end . . .

  22. May 19, 2008 10:30 pm

    निता,

    What you refer to socialism, I prefer to call it as a mixed economy. Ofcourse, we have agreed to disagree, so let us leave it at that.

    // I repeat I am a capitalist and will remain so until the day I die!! //

    You are welcome to be whatever you want, Nita. I don’t impose my views on anyone😐 I don’t know why you think I am trying to change your views😦

    Chill man! I wasn’t sure you were doing that, but just in case you were, I said that! And remember a lot of other people are reading the comments too, so its a clarification for others too.🙂 – Nita.

  23. May 20, 2008 12:27 am

    i agree with u that terror laws can be misused but tell me which law cannot be misused ? all laws can be misused
    so what do u suggest- we don’t have laws ? be reasonable.. there must be checks and balances .. all in all were still a banana republic to an extent and money and contacts matter most
    vivek has a valid point and thats why i had said clearly defined – some leeway is a must in such activity
    Overall, I think none of these parties, those against terror laws or those for terror laws really care about what happens to India. true very true

    http://techntrek.wordpress.com/2007/07/12/711-2/

    still id give them opposition parties benefit of doubt, because politicians always have nsg cover n unlimited power, not the aam admi, remember how the blast victims of the recent mumbai blast were treated and the railways started dragging their feet on compensation…

    all in all indian aam admi dies without such laws
    and more than laws i would demand specialised units and way better intelligence do u know that the israeli s matkal or elite units train and train rigourously their terror and anti terror strategy ?

    remember nsg was anti terror unit raised after the binderwala incident , they train rigorously and even practice with the matkal , they are sadly grossly misused

    rambdoc ur bang on ! raj amuses me lal salaam🙂

  24. May 20, 2008 12:46 am

    the french intelligence was supreme during the algerian liberation movement and they controlled the situation very well and lessons also need to be learn t from them
    lastly my questions remain unanswered

  25. May 20, 2008 2:17 am

    Take the third rate movies dished out by Bollywood, for instance. Indian Muslims are always portrayed as “terrorists” while Pakistanis are portrayed as friends. Shame on the notorious scoundrels who dish out those crappy third grade movies of Bollywood!

    Hmm…not so sure about this. Yes, there are a good number of BW movies that are jingoistic in nature, but then there are also movies like “Sarfarosh” and “Black Friday” that are more complex. And the 1993 blasts in Mumbai were carried out by Muslim underworld gang leaders – Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim. That’s not a reason to look at the entire Muslim community in India with distrust, but let’s not get carried away and start criticizing all depictions of Muslims as terrorists in BW movies, unless you also criticize the depiction of Hindu religious leaders and their nexus with politicians in BW movies – which are almost always shown in a negative light.

    By the way, “Sarfarosh” had a character who was a Muslim and an honest police inspector.

  26. oemar permalink
    May 20, 2008 4:48 am

    Point number 2 of the problems is what always comes up in my mind when I think of POTA or any other such laws. At least abroad while using such laws, the enforcement agencies worry about their PR rating. In India, enforcers dont even have that word in their lexicon.

  27. May 20, 2008 8:24 am

    Anshul, you have put this very well:

    Law should be lax while its implementation or enforcement should be strict, while in India its vice-versa

    Bornfool, I agree that corruption is embedded deep in this country and a law like POTA can be dangerous.

    Sudhir,
    I agree with what you say… that “vote bank politics prevents India from tackling terrorism in a structured manner..” however I don’t think the POTA can be compared to other laws.

    Vish
    , thanks for your comment.

    Nikhil, thanks for sharing that incident. Like you said, the public isn’t safe with these type of laws, and certainly not in India.

    Prax,
    as I mentioned to Sudhir, I don’t think one can compare POTA to other normal laws. POTA and TADA are laws which are unusual, and no civilized society should have these laws. If a person is jailed for drunken driving for one day because someone tries to frame him (who will bother and in any case you have to prove drunken driving) he will go to jail for one day only. Ofcourse frame-ups can happen in other cases too, but here there is an additional aspect…racism! Anyway, I am glad you were frank with your views…I was wondering why no one was supporting POTA. I somehow thought more people would.

    Amit/Raj
    , the kind of bollywood movies (and I see a lot of them!) I have seen do portray muslims (and christians and south indians) in a stereotypical manner but in my experience muslims are not portrayed as bad characters. Usually they are good characters and Zanzeer is one example. In fact I have a feeling you aren’t much into movies Raj…thats what you said in your comments once.

    Oemar, I didn’t know about the PR rating. Here by the way the police report to the politicians…they are not independent/autonomous so its worse. There has been a panel which has recommended autonomy but the state govts are not agreeable.

    p.s. Prax, in case I wasn’t clear, I want to mention that what people have against terror laws is that nothing needs to be proved…and you can hold people without proving anything. If I was going to be put into jail for drunk driving without any proof (just by looking at me🙂 ), then I would want the drunk driving law abolished too!

  28. May 20, 2008 11:45 am

    nita i know the pitfalls of pota but then why is there MCOCCA? in mumbai? i dont defend pota per se but the need of a law to hold a person,without a warrant, atlest for a fortnight, if there is sufficient suspicion
    as anshul put it enforcement is lax and politically dependent
    therefore even if pota is there under this regime , it may not work

    More importantly there should be a package and coordinated effort chk out my latest post

  29. May 20, 2008 11:47 am

    one more thing if pota is applied to drunk driving and likes the almost unemployed press in india will jump in and enough political pressure will ensure to make the law or the case null and void

  30. May 20, 2008 1:08 pm

    After reading all the comments, I re-read the entire article and corresponding comments. And I am now really confused about this. Some people say(while I nod in agreement behind them) that laws can be misused. And some express their views as we should not refuse the law for fear of misuse.
    So I wrote something inspired by all people above. Is India ready for Better Law Enforcement Solutions?

  31. May 20, 2008 10:40 pm

    A thoughtful article, which unfortunately is likely to remain unread by policy makers.
    Some short term solutions, withdraw all police personnel from non police duties, particularly providing security to so called VIPs. The VIPs can finance their own security force if they are afraid or stop doing things which expose them to perceived danger.
    Cut half of all government offices’ staff strength, give the ones taken away training to be police men/officers and deploy them. This will straight away, increase efficiency and make law and order come under control. This will enable the state to develop an intelligence network that will help prevent things from happening rather than take corrective action.
    Put an immediate stop to vote bank politics, particularly creation of slums.

  32. May 21, 2008 12:34 am

    One of the big questions is why, really, does terrorism require its own laws? Since most terrorist acts are criminal acts, planning and perpetrating them are usually crimes under existing laws.

    Most anti-terrorist legislation just acts to give police and ‘security forces’ more freedom to act by reducing the civil rights of the citizenry.

  33. May 21, 2008 9:00 am

    Prax, the need to hold people without a warrant is rarely justified except in emergency situations and also when other measures have failed. At least in America and other places the law is actually enforced and the terror laws are a last resort. Here no law is properly enforced, so let our govt. first enforce existing laws instead of taking the easy way out!

    Suda, one is torn in two isn’t one…we all want our country to be safe but I think there is a lot our govt. needs to do before a terror law is enacted. Comparing ourselves to foreign countries is not right as we have a poor law enforcement system riddled with corruption.

    rummuser, thanks. I agree with all of your suggestions.Let our govt. babus sacrifice their VVIP security personnel which in most cases is for show anyway. Its a prestige issue for these people and they care less about the common people’s security!

    Justin, good point!

  34. May 21, 2008 9:23 am

    Nita, do different states have different laws to tackle terrorism?

  35. May 21, 2008 9:39 am

    Amit, no separate terrorism laws. States have their own separate cells or state units and special squads but no law pertaining to terrorism. The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) is for criminals, not terrorists and there are a lot of demands to scrap it.

  36. May 22, 2008 10:56 am

    Do not immediately assume that Islamic militants were acting alone in the Jaipur blasts and other Terror attacks on India. Military-grade explosives such as RDX are available only from military stores, and the Pakistani military, ISI, and their sponsors, the US government, may be ultimately behind these attacks.
    The US government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks in order to provide an excuse for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. British special-ops military men have been caught making terror attacks in Iraq, and recently US agents were caught planning terror attacks inside of Iran. Links:

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/september2005/200905stagedterror.htm

    http://www.infowars.net/articles/february2007/050207FRU.htm

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/may2008/051908_iran_busts.htm

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/may2008/051608_terror_attacks.htm

  37. May 29, 2008 2:23 pm

    I think there are no two ways about it, we definitely need an anti terror law. Only one aspect of POTA can be modified, i.e. the period of jailing that can be given.

  38. Mahesh swami permalink
    August 3, 2010 10:06 am

    tada and mcocca is such a law against terririost it gives some discrisionary power to police it is need to give power the police and court to fight against terrerisom it needs to change in law

Trackbacks

  1. Mid Month Musings May 2008 …part 2. « Tech and Trek
  2. Is India ready for Better Law Enforcement Solutions? « Life Love and Logic

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