Skip to content

5

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. ~ Anatole France

Rights, like laws are determined by the powerful to address problems they face or allow actions they prefer and apply "equally" to all. These also happen to be those unlikely to prevent them from acting as they wish.

We seem to have reached an era where we "harvest" the power of hard won rights to ensure unfettered freedoms for some, while the most dangerous instances of suppressed rights continue to go under the radar.

To me, Charlie Hebdo appeared to be among such instances before the attack. Its right to free speech was largely protected by both laws and culture. There was little question of it not being allowed to have its range of free speech and that speech (in my opinion) was squandered on making a point of being offensive in a juvenile manner. I had earlier promised to publish the offensive cartoons (without seeing them) - regardless of Indian laws on the matter as a statement against violent and extra-judicial suppression of free speech. However, after seeing them, I am forced to limit myself to writing, as I honestly couldn't find anything funny about a star coming out of an ass - for example. My five year old son probably would (he even thinks farts are hilarious and breaks out laughing every time he hears one), but he doesn't blog here yet. Regardless, there is no question that free speech includes the right to be offensive as well as juvenile.

On another level, I am reminded of two recent rape cases to hit media courts - but not courts of law till the state took suo moto action in one. Both cases saw women well versed with women's rights and procedures and law after rape make no attempt to comply with the law by promptly undergoing medical tests or filing police cases. Both these women were unhesitatingly supported by more women's rights activists, lawyers and journalists, and yet the only action taken was public leaks of accusations that resulted in media character assassination campaigns that protected the identity of the victim and unquestioningly published accusations as fact in the manner of press releases and left no room for the accused to even speak in their own favor.

What I find common to both instances is empowered entities having full knowledge of their rights and using them to maximum effect, exercising their freedoms with little responsibility beyond knowing own rights.

In a world where battered and bleeding women showing monumental courage walking into police stations to file rape charges get denied, in a world where states silence dissent or target communities on the basis of identity, to exercise rights in a manner that flaunts their potential to hurt innocents has a very predictable backlash that questions the necessity of the right to exist at all without limitations.

The more insults are heaped on religion for the sheer joy of insulting, the more are voices disturbed by indiscriminate hurt caused demanding a leash. The more women flaunt the unequal protections granted to protect the voiceless many women routinely denied justice, the more misogynists claim that women use the law to punish men and there are few cases of real justice. It also seems a bit farcical to me to claim massive trauma from a fleeting incident the victim did not attempt to avoid a repeat of, in a country where marital rape (often painful and repeated) is not just common but perfectly legal and the women continue to function, while living within easy reach of their rapists (who enjoy complete impunity) without any crippling trauma recognizable to outrage brigades. It is also a country where no particular effort is visible to insist on justice for cases that are not young professional women, low caste, outside cities (particularly Delhi) and so on. And cases are cherry picked to be sensitive to, with little uniformity of importance for cases across the spectrum the crime covers.

Similarly, we see targeting for race as wrong, so why is targeting for religion a right? Similarly, in France, why is banning of specific headgear only for Muslim women wrong, but ridiculing the religion right? It is hardly a secret that your free speech won't extend to pedophilia - even if the pedophile is staunchly against child rape and insists on consent. Who went and decided that children don't have the free speech to consent to sex? For that matter, why are violent rape porn or child rape porn CARTOONS illegal, when obviously no one got harmed in making them? Why is a person who praises the attack on Charlie Hebdo or defends it "supporting terrorism" as opposed to merely exercising free speech to express an opinion? Is it that there is someone sitting up there deciding what should offend us and what shouldn't? Is it that this "righteous offense" is determined unilaterally by some entity that is no more accepting of "free speech" than a religious person, but remains unquestioned? Will we some day see a cartoon ridiculing someone who demands a ban on child rape porn cartoons? Yes these examples are "offensive" - we are discussing a right to offend, right?

This is not to say that exercising rights is wrong. It cannot be wrong and must never be leashed. However, there appears to be disproportionate utility or access to rights that is troubling.

For example, another way the Charlie Hebdo attack reminded me of rape was the motive for the crime being "provocation".

There is a perpetual conservative response that blames the victim and recommends not offending. In effect, creating a right to be offended. On the other hand, the offense being social, the mere upholding of rights does little to prevent unjust and illegal retaliation. Those at risk must strike their own balance between continuing to enjoy their rightful freedoms and exercising caution. Regardless of who is at fault, it is the life of the victim that ends up devastated or lost altogether. There is bravery in bold stands, but there is nothing wrong with installing a phone app that allows you to instantly broadcast an SOS - for example.

Less discussed is the willingness to risk the safety of another. Just because a woman should have the right to travel in the city alone at all hours (and you would do it as a ringing statement of your freedom), would you ask a woman employee or relative to travel alone at night in .... Delhi - for example? I suspect the day is not far that publishers of content that can trigger a violent backlash will consider the potential risk of the editorial stance to employees or others tasked to protecting their lives.

While even empowered women are long used to compromising freedoms for safety and finding ways to exercise rights when they really matter rather than making risk a way of life regardless of importance of goal; the question of free speech remains stuck on absolutes that depend on the world comprehending specific ideals and respecting them. This is not a criticism of any choice - they are all our right and our safety is our right regardless.

There is also a need to include more voices on what we agree on as rights. While I believe that free speech and particularly the right to challenge entrenched bastions of authority (including government and religion) must be sacrosanct, my belief in democracy also forces me to accept that like any other participant in a democracy, I have no special right to have my specific preferences met and those contradicting it, overruled. I would rather prefer to dig in my heels on those saving lives and rights. I also believe it is more important that free speech or women's rights (or indeed any other rights - women's rights is just an example) not be trivialized in a manner that shakes popular support to crucial, life and death need. In my eyes, the need to prevent the suppression of expression of religious belief through attire trumps the need to allow juvenile, racist crudery that effectively deems large swathes of humanity as inferior. In my eyes, it is more important that Saudi Arabia flogging a blogger be fought - with international pressure, if need be; than the right to stereotype and demean people.

I don't dispute that these are rights and can and will be exerted in a whole range of ways that will be as diverse as there are people. What I am suggesting is that uniformity and equality demands that we understand the variations in urgency and ensure basic rights and freedoms more equally before allowing free rein to a few disproportionate voices. Perhaps there is also a question of why some kinds of radicalization is unacceptable while other kinds of radicalization are free speech. After all, having a near cult following for juvenile insults to all sorts of diverse cultures cannot be all that different from seeing your religion as the only true one and discriminating against others. Except that the "holy book" of the "religion of offending as a means of creating enlightenment" is illustrated and easier to read.

That said, because Charlie Hebdo faced the attack, upholding its right to free speech now becomes paramount, as opposed to merely supporting the right to free speech of yet another kind of religious fundamentalism.

There is also a need for believers of all religions who do not support violence to not blame the actions that "provoked" the criticism by enacting the religion in a manner that brings it disrepute. What Islam (or Hinduism in India) "really" is becomes irrelevant if it manifests as a danger to others. Religious people need to recognize that it isn't their humanitarian description getting insulted and avoid providing smokescreens to criminals by making it about themselves. Violent fanatics conducting cold, premeditated murders while yelling "Allah hu Akbar" or "Jai Shri Ram" are not a figment of the imagination of someone who likes to harass peaceful people. It is time to accept that there are people who enact your religion in ugly ways without your permission and either be okay with it or join the criticism of your own religion for not being enacted in a manner compatible with what you believe it "really" is. Jumping into the fray as victims without interpretation you endorse being criticized only implies that you will allow crimes in the name of your religion and are defending them. This helps no one. Least of all your religion.

What happened at the Charlie Hebdo premises was ugly, tragic and unwarranted - plain wrong. It was a crime and this article makes no attempt to justify it. The intent is only to dig in deeper to a level where we are able to find dialogue that goes beyond camps of "people like us" with "preferences like ours" to uphold. If it manages to engage people into deeper dialogue on what comprises free speech and attempts to find agreement across a wider range of humanity, perhaps over time we may find ways to strengthen and deepen the manifestation of rights - beyond merely being accepted as ideals - to a point where all are strengthened and conversations fuel enlightenment rather than provocation or outrage.

1

Let us begin with the video of the king of "carefully presented BJP interviews", Rajat Sharma interviewing Baba Ramdev aide Ved Pratap Vaidik.

Even as respected journalists flee a sinking media, the entire media seems to have let this pass unquestioned. Ved Pratap Vaidik has no authority to engage in dialogue with anyone. This cannot be called a journalistic endeavor, since there is no documentation, or for that matter any new information not previously known being disclosed. It is no documentary type visit bringing insight to an entity. Instead, he seems to have held a bilateral dialogue with an entity we consider criminal.

Is the BJP also legitimizing a track of dialogue between extremists of both countries?

What does Ved Pratap Vaidik have in common with Hafiz Saeed other than organized religious Nationalism with stakes in national politics?

He speaks of their talks as a cultural exchange, asks after his objections to Narendra Modi and views with regard to Modi's potential visit to Pakistan. Now let us get this clearly. India considers Hafiz Saeed to be a terrorist. He is no representative of Pakistan recognized by India to interview for acceptance of the Indian Prime Minister. This undermines India's efforts to pressure Pakistan to curb radicalization against India by giving legitimacy and seeking acceptance from someone we consider to be a terrorist supporter.

Here are some quotes. I leave you to decide for yourself what Ved Pratap Vaidik is up to and what Rajat Sharma is doing when he projects an action clearly against India as some kind of achievement. Not to mention the whole pantheon of Indian media who appear to not have noticed this at all, or have not found it worth questioning.

baatcheet shuru karnese pehle, kuch tasweerein hum darshakon ko dikha dete hain. Lahore ki ye tasweerein hain. subah mein savva ghante lambi mulakaat hui Ved Pratap Vaidik ki Hafiz Saeed se. ek kamre mein sirf Hafiz Saeed or Vaidik sahab the. Vaidik sahab aap.... (Before beginning the talk, we bring you some images. These images are from Lahore. In the morning, there was an hour and a quarter long meeting between Ved Pratap Vaidik and Hafiz Saeed. Only Hafiz Saeed and Vaidik sahab were in a room. Vaidik sahab, you...) ~ Rajat Sharma

And amazingly, after showing images of the meeting, Rajat Sharma completely skips asking what gave Ved Pratap Vaidik the authority to do a one on one meeting with a non-state actor of another country that asked about the acceptability of the Indian Prime Minister in the opinion of someone declared a terrorist in India. He directly moves on to ask details of the meeting as though it were a formal dialogue with any legitimacy!!!

Now, if this were anyone other than a Modi supporter, the TV channels would be rightfully screaming outrage over the fact that the meeting happened at all, let alone got reported in detail over national TV in such glowing terms. The fact that the meeting seeks a terrorist's opinion on the Indian Prime Minister is an insult to India!!! Even if he is a product of an allied religious fanaticism industry. The expectation is that he represents the country now. It is no matter of pride that religious fanatics engaged in harm to the country find him acceptable!

Talk of terrorist associations. There would be more outrage if non-BJP Indian politician had an opinion on Modi. Apparently it is more acceptable to be a terrorist than a non-BJP politician?

Then Ved Pratap Vaidik drops these gems unchallenged by not just Rajat Sharma, but anyone in Indian media so far.

Quoting Hafiz Saeed in first person: media ke baare mein jab baat hui, to unhone kaha ki aapka media mujhe baar baar dahashatgad kehta hain. aapke propaganda se america prabhavit ho gaya aur america aur united nations ne bhi mujhe dahashatgarh ghoshit kar diya.... (when we spoke about media, he said that your media calls me a terrorist repeatedly. America has got influenced by your propaganda and America and United Nations have also declared me terrorist.)

Conveying Hafiz Saeed's view and then the astonishing response to the accusation of Indian media calling him terrorist.

lekin unko maine spasth kiya ki ye sirf media ki wajah se nahi hain. ye uch aisi ghatanayein Pakistan ki taraf se hoti hain ki jikse karan logon ke man mein ye vishwas pakka hota hain i koi na koi badi deheshatgarh takat un sab ghatanaon ke peeche hain, jisse pura hindustan bilbilaa uthta hain. (but I made it clear to him that it isn't only because of media. These are some incidences from Pakistan's side, due to which people believe that there is some or the other big terrorist power behind them, because of which entire Hindustan trembles.)

What. The. Fuck?

India thinks Hafiz Saeed is terrorist because it trembles at the terrorist power behind some incidences from "Pakistan's side" (as opposed to any role by Hafiz Saeed and denied by Pakistan state)? And really? Hindustan trembles, which is why they think he's terrorist? Reminds me of the "hysteria" accusations made at women. "Hey, Hindustan is overreacting because they're terrified, they mean you no harm." And this joker is proudly sharing this with whole country without any questions raised on a channel known to be pro-Modi-sarkar. Makes one wonder if Modi sarkar's plan is to prostrate India!

Descriptions of Hafiz Saeed's grandeur follow. Thousands coming to listen to him, then Vaidik went to meet him. Lived in a dense, upscale locality in Lahore, his security is better than Pakistan Prime Minister's, he has high stature in Pakistan, I got the impression he doesn't want to meet me but he called me, then he immediately said he had heard our complaints in media and asked me to tell him about myself, etc.... note that this man Hafiz Saeed, whom Vaidik is giving glowing details of being allowed to meet, is calling for Pakistanis to fight India for the "freedom" of Kashmir often in his public meetings.

Vaidik is describing discussions of how Hafiz Saeed said we share a common culture. How his mother came to Pakistan pregnant with him. Then Hafiz Saeed asked about Modi's wife and he said that he has no wife in the manner we understand wife and is a bachelor for all practical purposes. Sangh pracharaks are bachelors. Then he described sangh, brahmacharya and so on.

Then Vaidik asks why Hafiz Saeed has enmity with Modi. Erm... WHAT? Hafiz Saeed denied enmity with Modi (which probably means that bhakts on Twitter will like JuD better now). Vaidik asks about the treatment Modi will get if he comes to Pakistan, and Hafiz Saeed says that they will give him an open hearted welcome. So the question is, what visits does Vaidik think India's Prime Minister will do to Pakistan where Hafiz Saeed will provide hospitality.

And Vaidik asks whether Saeed too is a brahmachari and Saeed replied that he has three wives. And so on.

Nor is this a one time connection. Ved Pratap Vaidik confirmed to journalist Aditya Raj Kaul that he had been seeking a meeting with Saeed for a while since his meeting last year got cancelled.

He paints a glowing picture of Hafiz Saeed as a humanitarian messiah who has been defamed. Repeats Saeed's claim that he was framed by Rehman Malik. Bluntly denies allegations of terrorism on Hafiz Saeed's behalf based on HIS OWN interactions in Islamabad and Lahore. Sidesteps questions of calls for jihad in Kashmir that are ON RECORD and states that Saeed made a very favorable impression on him. In short, he openly contradicts India's stand on Hafiz Saeed ignoring all evidence to the contrary. Or perhaps, he simply sees nothing wrong with religious zealots doing humanitarian work and inciting violence using the popularity it brings them. Sound familiar?

This is a far cry from BJP's so far rabid stand against Hafiz Saeed and given that statements of this magnitude are made on National media without any objection from BJP (indeed a defense of his "motives") - from a party that is happy to object to absolutely every pro-Pakistan/pro-terrorist word ever said and rabidly attacks any attempts to raise questions - this raises serious questions about the BJP government's stand with regard to Hafiz Saeed, and more importantly, his views on Kashmir that were neatly sidestepped, but are a core issue. The government's silence on this interview is ominous.

The interview sounds like Vaidik is out to build relationships and there is absolutely no distinction in the importance given to the meetings with Nawaz Sharif and other official government representatives and Hafiz Saeed. In fact, Hafiz Saeed is compared MORE favorably. In a BILATERAL discussion often featuring India's Prime Minister.

Given that there is no censure, nor any specific interrogation of Vaidik after extensive contact with a wanted terrorist in a trip featuring meetings with official Pakistan government representatives, is this rubbish is actually sanctioned by Modi?

This interview and the complete lack of scrutiny is a FUBAR of massive proportions, that a completely prostrated media is happy to ignore. It raises questions about the government's intentions with regard to prosecuting terrorist acts against India, entities that are actively trying to separate Kashmir from India and the overall questions of developing relations between extremists of the two countries. NONE of which can be good for India.

If Hafiz Saeed is innocent or mistakenly accused, his name should first be cleared officially before such overtures. Regardless, abundant public speeches inciting large crowds against India exist, and such overtures seem inappropriate even if he were not guilty in 26/11. And if there is no change in status in India considering him guilty in 26/11, then what Ved Pratap Vaidik did amounts to an action against India's interests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZQyS21Ut-s

Goes much to say how much the new government is undermining India's interest that the only place this interview shows is on a channel that did a carefully scripted interview of Modi, the rest of media is silent and there is no censure or even official denial of legitimacy for Vaidik from the government or security agencies investigating in the wake of this travesty.

Update: Hafiz Saeed is a terrorist. Government of India has nothing to do with a journalist meeting him. ~ Arun Jaitley and some other denials and distancing by others. Still no comment on a channel broadcasting a blatantly pro-terrorist show.

Gujarat Police gave him the “choice” of being implicated in the Godhra train burning, Haren Pandya murder and Akshardham terror, one of the men acquitted by the Supreme Court in the temple attack case alleged on Tuesday.

Mohammed Saleem was eventually sentenced to life under POTA for involvement in the Akshardham case.
On May 16, the day Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi won his historic mandate, the Supreme Court set Saleem and five others free, pulling up the Gujarat Police for framing innocent people, and blaming the then home minister — Modi — for “non-application of mind”. Four of the six men had already spent over 10 years in jail.

“I had been working in Saudi Arabia for 13 years, when they picked me up alleging there was a problem with my passport. They beat me brutally — I still have scars on my back, and I suffered a fracture in my foot. They asked me which case I wanted to be charged under — Akshardham, Haren Pandya or Godhra. I did not know what to say,” Saleem told a press conference addressed by five of the six men in Delhi.
Saleem’s daughter was born four months after his arrest. He picked her up in his arms for the first time only after his release — the child is 10 years old now.

The world of Abdul Qaiyum Muftisaab Mohammed Bhai alias Mufti Abdul Qaiyum has changed completely in the 11 years that he spent in jail. His father is dead, and his family no longer lives in their old home. His acquittal by the Supreme Court, Qaiyum said, was “mere release from prison; justice had been buried at every moment in these 11 years”.

Qaiyum said the main charge against him was that two letters recovered from the two fidayeen killed in the terror attack had been written by him. He was framed, Qaiyum alleged.

“For three days and nights, they made me copy a letter that they had given me. They (the police) would bring an expert each day to check whether I had copied it well. They would ask me to copy the turns and twists of the Urdu letters so that they looked exactly the same as in the letter. I was very afraid, and did what they told me to do,” he said. “Then they claimed in court that I had written the letters.”
Qaiyum said that in jail, he met the police officers who had framed him, and asked them why they had done so. “I met G L Singhal. Though they (police officers) were kept separately, we sometimes bumped into each other. I told him (Singhal): ‘Please tell me why did you do this to me.’ His young son had committed suicide, and that had made him feel what grief was. He had no answer.”

Arshad Madani, president of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind which organised the press conference, said, “I am willing to talk things over with anybody to ensure such things do not happen, but I feahim (Singhal): ‘Please tell me why did you do this to me.’ His young son had committed suicide, and that had made him feel what grief was. He had no answer.”

Arshad Madani, president of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind which organised the press conference, said, “I am willing to talk things over with anybody to ensure such things do not happen, but I fear that there is a real chance that this will actually happen more often.”

He said the Jamiat would approach the Supreme Court to seek punishment for the officers who had framed the men. “Supreme Court and judiciary is our last hope. The government and the media have been biased, and an atmosphere has been created in which every Muslim is seen as a terrorist,” Madani said.r that there is a real chance that this will actually happen more often.”

He said the Jamiat would approach the Supreme Court to seek punishment for the officers who had framed the men. “Supreme Court and judiciary is our last hope. The government and the media have been biased, and an atmosphere has been created in which every Muslim is seen as a terrorist,” Madani said.

This article originally appears in the Indian Express. Reproducing it here because I don't trust our government enough that articles like this may not go missing in the future.

This article by M Reyaz has been copied from TwoCircles.net because there appear to be fears of Mumbai police getting it censored.

New Delhi: Senior lawyer Mehmood Pracha, who is defending German bakery bomb blast case convict Mirza Himayat Beg for his innocence, has demanded that the current Mumbai Police Commissioner should be “arrested as a terrorist” and tried under anti-terror laws.

In an exclusive interview to TCN, Advocate Pracha said, “The fact remains that three investigating agencies (NIA, Delhi Police’ Special Cell and Central Crime Branch, Bangalore ), my own understanding of the case, the charge sheet and the subsequent events, all point to one fact that the Maharashtra ATS led by Mr Rakesh Maria was responsible in not only falsely implicating Himayat Baig, but also in the process actively saving the real terrorists,” adding, “the police officers involved, including Mr Rakesh Maria should be arrested for conducting activities which are terror related. He has committed offense prima facie which are terror cases and he should be arrested as a terrorist.”

Besides Himayat Baig, Advocate Pracha has been trying to secure bail for another high profile terror accused Mansoor Peerbhoy and has been frontally attacking current Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria for his conduct as ATS Chief.

He also alleged that the Mumbai top cop is using underworld don Ravi Pujari to coerce him to leave those sensitive terror cases. Advocate Pracha has been receiving threat calls from international telephone numbers.

Advocate Pracha is now planning to petition in court to lodge FIR against him. He told TCN, “In Himayat Baig’s case what has come out is that the Maharashtra ATS, led by Mr Rakesh Maria – who was then the Chief of the ATS – they not only implicated an innocent called Mr Himayat Baig, but they also saved the real terrorists, as three other agencies have also stated.”

He hence feels that as a law abiding citizen, it is his “duty to inform for a cognizable offence to the relevant authority and the court.”

Not shying away from calling Maria a “terrorist” for his alleged misconduct, the out-spoken lawyer added, “It is my duty to inform the terrorist activities of Mr Rakesh Maria, then head of the Maharashtra ATS, and his entire team.”

Elaborating further, he said, “When I say, that these police officers are acting like terrorists because they are aiding and abetting the real terrorists and catching hold of the innocent people to save the real terrorists. Under section 15 to 20 of the UAPA, these are terrorist activities, be it whether they are committed by the police officers or common citizens because law is equal for all.”

Pointing that Maria is not the only police officer who have implicated innocent Muslims, Advocate Pracha said, “This is true not only for Mr Rakesh Maria, but for many other officers against whom I have conclusive evidence to at least register an FIR against them. Law should take its own course, because nobody is above law. Mr Rakesh Maria’s case came up because the NIA filed the additional charge-sheet which once again points to the fact that Himayat Baig was innocent.”

Advocate Mehmood Pracha at his Defence Colony office.
Advocate Mehmood Pracha at his Defence Colony office.

He added, “Mr Rakesh Maria has managed to bring himself to the limelight by brining Ravi Pujari (the underworld don, whose men purportedly threatened Pracha over phone) that is why I have to take his name again and again, but there are so many other police officers who are going the same way. But none of them has actually threatened with the underworld. He has got this invited on himself. If you threaten me like this I am going to fight back, by legal means.”

Elaborating further he said, “The fact remains that there many police officers in many states, who are acting along with the real terrorists and implicating these innocent in false cases. And we are duty bound as citizens to catch hold of each one of them and hand them over to the investigating agencies.”

"Unfortunate part is both the police officers who are supposed to be neutral investigating agencies and the public prosecutors, supported by the respective governments, have acted in an adversarial and vindictive manner in these cases," he added.

Questioning the very credentials of Maria for acting in such a manner and using underworld don to threaten him, Pracha said, “But he has taken it in a manner, which I think, is not suitable for a police officer, if at all he is, because I do not find any of the characters of a police officer in him, going through the evidences I am seeing in all the charge-sheets, which have been filed under his leadership. So he has started threatening me through the underworld. But these things don’t scare me at all.”

He said that he will not take these threats sitting down, adding that he knows of people who are behind him and he will bring them to justice.

Rakesh Maria [Courtesy: mid-day.com]
Rakesh Maria [Courtesy: mid-day.com]
Asked if he has any evidence against Maria for labelling such an allegation, Advocate Pracha said, “Yes, I have substantive and enough evidence against Mr Rakesh Maria. Unfortunate part is that he is using the underworld, he is the one who is supposed to catch the underworld. He is using the underworld to threaten a person like me, whose only fault is that he is following the law. What I am doing is presenting my case to the judges, whatever reliefs or whatever orders are being passed, are passed by the judges. So it is a direct attack on the Judiciary.”

He said, “I want to show these people that the Constitution of India and the laws made under them are sufficient not only to tackle underworld dons, international or national, but our Constitution and laws are also sufficient to catch hold of these terrorists who are sitting today in the garb of police officers.”

In this exclusive TCN interview, Advocate Pracha also alleged that the “basic fault in our investigating agencies is that honest police officers are being side-lined, they are posted in police training schools, on posts of not much significance as punishment postings and officers with known corrupt background are placed in important posts, like handling terror cases, which is very sad.”

20

Collecting here some of the best anti-terror ideas ever from anywhere I find them:

Intelligence Dominance

Intelligence about terrorist movements or attacks is difficult to come by. It is difficult to mount effective anti-terror operations without accurate and actionable intelligence. The more diffuse the information is, the more resources are squandered while acting on it. Too diffuse, and it is only a hanging sword with little truly effective action possible. Local police and state police need to take a more proactive role in developing and continuously updating capabilities to collect effective intelligence, infiltrate terrorist groups or identify surveillance needs.

The role of people can't be played down. Training that empowers forces to act confidently rooted in their responsibility and using their authority to make things happen, will encourage the human factor to be optimally functional in their work environment. This could involve optimizing cooperation between services, or even training to build initiative and creative thinking. It will also define work boundaries and needs and power clearly, so that misuse becomes less likely.

The idea is to make intelligence the pillar of the work - collecting as well as operations, so that resources are used to maximum result. This is going to require a change in priority where constantly evaluating, updating and revising how intelligence work is done (not just specific cases) needs to be in permanent residence at the top of the list.

Legalize drugs

This article by Harini Calamur describes the role of drugs in making funding easy for terrorism. Other versions of this thought also speak of the use of drugs in influencing potential recruits by getting them involved in "illegal" activities and thus averse to law enforcement. Legalizing drugs will allow alienated people to find safety within regular society and allow open access to treatment if they desire.

Legalizing drugs will allow licencing and better tracking of their flow as well as bring revenue to the country and allow shadowy financial links to be investigated more easily. Calamur suggested (separately) that the money from taxing drugs could be used on Public Health Policy including Addiction. Makes a lot of sense.

Cracking down on Piracy

Dharmesh Thakkar has commented that piracy of Bollywood music and films is a big source of terror funding too. RAND REPORT of 2009 reveals that 70 crore of piracy money annually gets diverted to terror outfits like LeT and HuJI. Bollywood is the biggest film factory in the world with 1800 films made last
year. Piracy accounts for 38 % loss of film revenues. He says that master prints are smuggled into pakistan and ripped on DVDs and copies are made to be distributed in the gulf region.

Fast Track Courts

In areas troubled by festering conflict and long standing cases pending justice, it is easier to influence communities against the state by pointing out the inaction of the system as a deliberate measure to suppress them. Cases moving faster toward justice will result in more sense of being protected by the country and discredit propaganda aimed at turning victims of crimes against the country.

Establishing better investigative infrastructure

Better forensics in particular come up as an important factor in evidence based investigations and justice, which will reduce need to target communities and prevent a sense of being victimized by the state.

Better intelligence collection and management

The government initiatives to improve intelligence sharing are still in limbo two years post 26/11. It is not as if we do not understand the need, but there seems to be an inability to make it happen, understand its gravity, or adequately design complex processes that might be needed. The obstacles to making this happen need to be diagnosed and addressed. There also need to be easy ways of offering intelligence and verifying, working with or otherwise integrating it with the system so that it adds to information centrally.

Engaging with religious leaders and institutions

Religious leaders and institutions can be used to help people find faith in the systems of the country and discourage illegal actions. They can also be monitored to identify people who may be using them as platform for other agendas and investigating if these agendas are functional for the country or not.

Lowering corruption

While corruption is easy, particularly in matters related with travel, communication, accommodation, etc. It will be difficult to track those who may misuse them. Identification and documents can be unnecessarily difficult for many legitimate people, while forgeries are easy to use for nefarious purposes. Systems of verification need to be less rigid on documents needed and stress more on physical and independent verification of information like addresses or names. The information of the people verifying them should be available in the records of the account to prevent corruption in passing checks.

Political integrity

This comprises of a collection of political improvements like:

  • Moving away from vote bank politics that allows the polarization to also be argued into anti-national sentiment in pockets of perceived minority if the claimed results are not visible.
  • Being able to have a common and stable stand on important matters of security.
  • Streamlining policies to minimize red tape and thus potential for loopholes that can be misused.
  • Minimizing red table in security related issues at the very minimum - allowing updates and upgrades to equipment to happen with lowest latency possible.
Please add any ideas you may have below. I will periodically update this article with more ideas I may find.