India’s 'No' to 9-11 Legacy
This print version has been auto-generated from https://www.globalissues.org/article/499/indias-no-to-9-11-legacy
The following article is from Truthout and provides an example of how the war on terror can be used to pursue other agendas. You can see the original article at http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/052904E.shtml1.
India's 'No' to 9/11 Legacy
By J. Sri Raman,
May 29, 2004
Chennai, India - India is all set to free itself from its own legacy of 9/11.
The process, however, is likely to provoke a political counter-offensive from forces here that actually saw a golden opportunity in the ghastly Twin Towers tragedy.
The new ruling coalition in New Delhi and its outside allies have announced their resolve to repeal an avowed anti-terrorist law enacted by the outgoing regime, headed by the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party. Scrapping of the infamous Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), 2002, figures prominently in the Common Minimum Program (CMP) adopted by the currently power-sharing United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its left allies on Thursday. This was perhaps the only item of the CMP to be adopted without any debate.
The POTA was the official New Delhi response to 9/11 and a Washington diktat in its wake. Piloting the draconian law in a joint session of both Houses of Parliament on March 26, 2002, then Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani talked of it as a post-9/11 imperative. The POTA, he said, would
meet a call made by United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 1373, passed on September 28. This resolution said: (The POTA followed the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance or POTO promulgated in October 2001.)
All states shall ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts is brought to justice.
Needless to add, the resolution was a faithful reflection of the official US wish and will. The
justice it mentioned, though, was a blatant denial of the basic norms of civilized jurisprudence. It was followed by the passage of laws in several countries that targeted civil liberties and democratic rights in the name of tackling terrorism. Then Law Minister Arun Jaitley thundered that India, too,
shall have an anti terrorism law and left no doubt that it would be a lawless law.
The POTA was such a law because of its obnoxious provisions. Like the one that put the onus on the accused to prove his or her innocence. Or the one that treated confessions made to the police (obtained, in public perception, often under torture) as acceptable evidence. But not only because of such provisions. It was all the more lawless in being directed particularly against a minority. And it was even more so in the manner of its implementation.
The anti-minority intent behind the law was made amply clear by the anti-
Islamic-terror interpretation the BJP rulers put on 9/11 and their insistent claim that the tragedy had made an India-US alliance inevitable. Tying up the POTA with the
terrorism of his government's special concern, Advani said:
...state-sponsored cross-border terrorism is a kind of war and not just a law and order problem...this is the first factor for the government to think of an extraordinary law like POTA.
He was alluding to the Kashmir problem, projected as purely an insurgency imported from Pakistan and no more. The POTA, however, was also a declaration of war on India's largest minority. The Muslims may not have been formally declared a fifth column, but they were the
usual suspects to the law-enforcers.
The 30 terrorist organizations listed in the POTA included 11 Muslim and four Sikh bodies, but none of the outfits of anti-minority terrorism like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), spearhead of the Gujarat carnage of 2002 that claimed nearly 3,000 Muslim lives. Even more significantly, the POTA has not been invoked against members of the non-minority organizations that do figure in the list.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the armed force of Tamil separatism in Sri Lanka, for example, is one of these organizations. When a politician of the southern State of Tamilnadu was arrested under the POTA for supporting the LTTE in public, however, the BJP rulers sprang to his defense. Not out of new-found concern for civil liberties, but because his party was part of the New Delhi coalition then.
They did not press for wielding the POTA against the People's War Group (PWG) in another southern State, Andhra Pradesh, another listed outfit - even after its attempt on the life of the State's chief minister, an ally of theirs. Yet another extremist outfit of the same category, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), got away with a round of organized violence against
outsiders meaning Indians from other States living in its north-eastern State.
The insistence of the BJP rulers through all this was on the use of the POTA for its
true and intended purpose. Which, clearly, was minority-bashing.
The people have voted against the POTA, and the new rulers have promised its repeal. This, however, is no guarantee that India's statute book will not be sullied by another draconian law of
antiterrorist description. This is so not only because the Congress Party cannot be counted upon as an uncompromising defender of civil liberties. It was during its previous term in power that the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (prevention Act, 1987, emulated and excelled by the POTA with its crueler intent, was enacted.
Scarier, however, are the prospects of a re-intensified campaign against
Islamic terror by the BJP and its extra-parliamentary, extended family including the VHP.
The prospects are particularly disturbing after the incidents of the past few days in the Muslim-majority State of Jammu and Kashmir. The appointment of Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister was greeted the next day by a bomb blast in the State, claiming several lives. This was followed by another bomb attack on a convoy of the India's Border Security Force in the troubled region, killing at least 25, including members of some soldiers' families.
Kashmir remains the soft underbelly of Indian liberalism, not excluding important sections of the left.
A freelance journalist and a peace activist of India, J. Sri Raman is the author of Flashpoint2 (Common Courage Press, USA). He is a regular contributer to Truthout
General Fair Use Notice
This reposted page may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Globalissues.org is making this article available in efforts to advance the understanding of the workings, impact and direction of various global issues. I believe that this constitutes a “fair use” of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use,” you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
This article is part of the following collection:
- War on Terror: Crackdown on Civil Rights; War on Freedom
- Amnesty International: Human Rights Backlash
- U.S. Intensifies the War of Words
- America’s hyperreal war on terrorism
- Post-September 11 Corporate Stance
- Goodbye to Patriotism
- The Silence on Terrorism
- The New McCarthyism
- American Caesar
- Farewell Liberty
- Bush’s Aggressive Accounting
- Race War
- The War on Dissent Widens
- The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11
- FBI digs deeper into the Web
- Seven Points
- The War on Freedom and Democracy in the EU
- Overview of Changes to Legal Rights
- How I became a target for America’s zealots
- Washington’s Eye on the Internet
- High treason in the U.S. government
- US Librarians See 'Big Brother' Monitoring
- Muted Response to Ashcroft’s Sneak Attack on Liberties
- Our Designated Killers, 'Where Is the Outrage?'
- Our voices are lost in the tide of intolerance sweeping America
- Broad Domestic Role Asked for C.I.A. and the Pentagon
- Amnesty International: No Shortcut to Genuine Security
- Asian Security Talks Risk Giving Green Light to Repression
- South African Anti-Terror Bill Draconian
- Rage. Mistrust. Hatred. Fear. Uncle Sam’s Enemies Within
- US Anti-war Activists Hit by Secret Airport Ban
- On the Record
- Army Admits Using JetBlue Data
- Congress Defunds Controversial 'Total Information' Program
- Federal Judge Rules Part of Patriot Act Unconstitutional
- Executive Power after 9-11 in the United States
- War on Terror or War on Liberties?
- War on Global Values
- India’s 'No' to 9-11 Legacy
- Homeland Security: The price of safety
- Republicans See Signs That Pentagon Is Evading Oversight
- Is the Pentagon spying on Americans?
- Judge Rules NSA Warrantless Spy Program Unconstitutional
- Pentagon is keeping secret tabs on peaceful protest activities
- Is Princeton Professor and Retired Marine on Government No-Fly List for Criticizing the White House?
- Corporate Takeover of US Intelligence
- US and Europe Near Agreement on Private Data
(Note that listed here are only those hyperlinks to other articles from other web sites or elsewhere on this web site. Other sources such as journal, books and magazines, are mentioned above in the original text. Please also note that links to external sites are beyond my control. They might become unavailable temporarily or permanently since you read this, depending on the policies of those sites, which I cannot unfortunately do anything about.)
Back to top