TODAY -

Editorial of the week

VIRTUAL WAR

In love and war, everything is fair, so they say. It does seem this is also exactly what Union home minister, LK Advani, is saying with regards to the ongoing operations against various insurgencies all over the country, when he keeps proposing further immunization of the forces fighting insurgencies, from the existing purview of the law. This is despite the fact that there are already tough laws to fight internal low intensity wars such as the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Punjab Security Act, and other draconian enactments, against which numerous human rights activists and a greater section of the ordinary citizen alike have been vehemently campaigning against. As if these are not enough, it seems likely there will be further powers as well as legal shields accorded to the forces.

All is fair in war, (at least it was once believed), and the one objective before those fighting it is winning it and nothing more or less. Unlike the sublime slogan of the Olympics movement, there is no glory in war except in victory. Nothing else is worth the while. Hence every resource in the command of the country, in times of war, must converge and synchronize to work as one big, efficient fighting machine. The law too must fall in line. Unfortunately however, in the present context that the Union home minister seeks to introduce the new legislative amendments, there is no war -- only insurgencies. Such an attitude can only hasten the alienation process of the people amongst whom these insurgencies have sprung up, thus defeating the very purpose of the counter-insurgency offensive itself. So many complaints of human rights violations come in the existing counter-insurgency milieu already, and it is not unreasonable to believe they are directly proportional to the legal immunities accorded to the government forces. By the same logic, if more immunities were to be introduced, there will be a reciprocal rise in the cases of atrocities by the security mechanism. It is true forces that the government fights are not innocent of atrocities, but there must be a distinction between what is on the side of the law and what is outside of it. Moreover, the Home minister's intent also betrays a distrust in the ability of the existing system -- a sentiment that is akin to paranoia.

The trouble again is, as many intellectuals have pointed out, insurgency is not so much about fighting 'armed subversives' for its is more of 'a state of mind' of the people. As to how such a state of mind has developed, is a long story, although have been told so many times over now, and in as many different ways conceivable. It is rooted in the differences and divergences in historical streams. But this lack of a shared sense of history apart, the existence of insurgencies must be seen as the index of the extent of the failure or success of the nation in evolving a shared sense of destiny. A sense that cannot be forced, but can only grow out of an internal, organic and natural socio-economic pressure. Hence, we are certain good governance, accountable and responsible leadership, social justice, equitable distribution of the benefits and opportunities of the system, a faith that diligence pays, and above all a vision of hope for the future, are some of the most essential ingredients for a final resolution of the problem. And we repeat, not further militarization.

Courtesy: The Imphal Free Press

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