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Draconian laws are no answer

by Kashmir Times, 13 December 2008

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Editorial, Kashmir Times, 13 December 2008

Terrorism is the result of injustice and denial of democratic rights

It may well be a case of absolute ignorance and naivette to demand enforcement of stringent laws like POTA and TADA to combat terror attacks in the country. Those supporting these demands are inspired by the logic that such laws will prove to be a deterrent for the terrorists and make them think twice before indulging in heinous acts of perpetrating violence against innocent civilians. One cannot fight terrorism without looking at the root cause of it. While deprivation and denial of democratic rights the world over are known to have pushed youth, irrespective of communities, ethnicities and groups, towards glorifying acts of terror, deemed as war against certain civilizations or countries, it is equally a fact that vested interests have vastly cashed in on the alienation and disillusionment of people, particularly youth invoking them to pick up the gun to redress all the wrongs. The feeling of alienation may not always stem from genuine reasons. It often also penetrates into minds of communities, groups or individuals through propaganda which may be based on absolute falsehoods or partial truths, indoctrinating the feeble minded including the most highly educated people to an extent that they are ready to not just pick up the gun to fight to avenge the deprivation they rightly or wrongly feel they have been subjected to. The indoctrination is so complete that youth are not just willing to pick up arms against the State or certain people but they are ready to form suicide squads to do so. In both the 9/11 and the July 7 attacks in New York and London, several terrorists involved in these attacks were not just highly educated but they had received liberal western education and came from families with liberal backgrounds. In any conflict situation world wide, there has been an increasing rise in cases of suicide bombers, irrespective of religion, caste or ethnicities. This demonstrates the level of alienation, justified or unjustified, and the indoctrination due to propaganda unleashed by vested interests that provoke youth and mislead them into believing that disparities in the world can be rid only through recourse to violent means. Besides, the glorification of the sacrifice of ones life, the achievement of martyrdom have been glamourised to such an extent that many a youth are eager to pursue what they begin to believe is a heroic task. Much of this propaganda thrives on liberal doses of fanaticism that is injected lethally into fine thinking youngsters, educated or illiterate. This is a universal fact, whether we talk about Islamic jehadis, the LTTE, the saffron terror or any other terror perpetrating groups the world over.

With terrorism nourishing and thriving on such hate soaked ideologies, propaganda and indoctrination to the point that the youth taking up guns do not care a fig about their own lives, there is little weight in the theory that stringent laws alone can prove to be a deterrent. Obviously, those who are ready to kill and be killed do not think of laws -stringent or lenient. In all finality then, such laws like POTA are ultimately used as weapons of political vendetta in the hands of the ruling elite or to victimize and harass certain communities or ethnic groups, or by the all powerful officials and politicians to settle scores with personal enemies. Such laws that give unbridled freedom to a select group of people to not just harass innocents but also subvert the very spirit and essence of democracy, in fact breed more contempt and make individuals susceptible to being indoctrinated on hard core hate soaked myths. This ultimately begets more violence, more hatred and probably terror attacks. Neither can the formula of creating a federal agency to tackle terror be deemed to be Alladin’s magic lantern that would stall the terror attacks in future. If any such federal agency continues to operate with the same lack of accountability that characterizes the existing intelligence and security agencies of the country, it may serve no purpose. The kind of money that is pumped into these money sucking agencies, with powers vested in a few hands, it is obvious that much of the inability of the State in dealing effectively with terror attacks or other acts of violence is due to the corruption and inefficiency within these agencies. Where is the guarantee that a new federal agency would be above the board? The need therefore is to cleanse the system. Besides, collective efforts need to be made worldwide to ensure that hate soaked ideologies and those perpetuating myths and lethal propaganda that misleads the youth are pushed to the corner. That indeed is a difficult task and thinkers across the globe need to think of effective mechanisms to deal with this global issue.