Fighting Terrorism?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying, to create an impression that the country is more secure today and stronger after a 'fitting' retaliation to Pakistan and the Pakistan-based terrorist again. The terrorists are deterred and will not dare raise their heads! The fight against terrorism, according to Modi and his party is in its final stages. But the reality is otherwise, the fact is that even after the air strike at 'Balakot', security personnel had to lay down their lives fighting the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). There are no signs of JeM in PoK nervous. Five security personnel and one civilian were killed in 60-hour-long encounter in Kupwara that concluded on 3rd March. They are going about their business as usual and in fact recruiting and training fresh people. Pakistani deep state may use them in future. Although one prays that the terrorists are incapacitated but hopes are not sufficient to fight against terrorism. Creating a fantasy that India is stronger today and more secure, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) exploiting the air strikes to the hilt for electoral outcomes. US led war against terrorism with all its might and modernised weapons and computerised devices did not end terrorism in Afghanistan. In fact the terrorist threat increased and proliferated. ISIS came into existence and the hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives in this war. US is finally pulling out of Afghanistan without ending terrorism and in truth sitting on the negotiation table with Taliban, the terrorist organisation it had declared war against.

Air strikes will hardly yield or weaken the terrorists. Fight against terrorism requires multi-pronged efforts and sagacity, including bringing international pressure on Pakistan to act on terrorist organisations and their finances. However, the most important aspect of fight against terrorism is to find a political solution to the problem of J&K, to win over the hearts and minds of people of J&K and resorting to a series of confidence building measures. The problem of terrorism in J&K may not cease merely because support to the local terrorists from Pakistan has been cut off. Fight against terrorism will require dialogue with all stake holders and finding a political solution to the vexed problem. The muscular policy using harsh security measures and targeting the Children of Kashmir with pellet guns has not weakened terrorism and will not do so in future. Such measures which violate human rights of people of Kashmir alienate the people of the state which then becomes fertile ground for recruitment of terrorists. More security personnel have been killed and larger number of terrorists has been killed in the past five years than ever before since the muscular policy has been adopted. Terrorism seems to flourish unabated. Relying only on security forces to neutralise terrorists and demonising the entire community for acts of few individuals is certainly not the way to fight terrorism. Similarly, no war against terrorism has been won by chest thumping and claiming exclusive credit for the party in power.

The aggressive policy of the BJP with electoral outcomes is demanding that all citizens and opposition parties line up behind them unquestioningly. Any contrary opinion is quickly branded as anti-national and attempted to be silenced with the help of trolls in social media and pro-goverment print media. The spokespersons of the BJP brand any contrary voice as sounding like that of Imran Khan and helping Pakistan. However, in spite of such intimidations some conscientious media persons and intellectuals are nevertheless expressing their opinions in the interest of democracy, accountable governance and rule of law. They are bringing on table more and effective ideas to find permanent solution to and decisive fight against terrorism. If the people of J&K opted for joining the Indian Union in 1947, it was because of promise of democracy, devolution of power, autonomy, secularism and the slogan of 'unity in diversity' quite contrary to Pakistan.

The sub-text of BJP style fight against terrorism where all contrary voices are sought to be suppressed is to look for internal enemies in dissenting intellectuals, Kashmiris and Muslims. Who are easy and soft targets that give impression that the saffron Government is fighting terrorism. However, such targeting is jeopardising the social fabric and unity of the people of the country and harming the Constitutional framework and rule of law. The democratic institutions of the country are the biggest casualty in the way BJP is politicising the fight against terrorism.


Vol. 51, No. 41, Apr 14 - 20, 2019