Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A splendid op-POTA-rtunity

in the aftermath of the bombings, two remedies proposed are

  1. Kill 'em all; let God sort them out - unrestricted POTA regime
  2. Nip it in the bud - Better intelligence

The first argument assumes that 'it will never be me'. History has shown that POTA-like acts quickly degenerate into brutal oppression of dissent: whatever form it may take, whichever quarters it may come from. Martial laws are effective only in the most extreme of emergencies and, if not repealed thereafter, result in juntas and fascist regimes. Hence, POTA is only a short-term solution if it is to be considered.

The second argument is for better intelligence. Easier said than done. First of all, what does it mean. For me, a civilain, that translates into autonomy and more efficacy.

Terrorism can sometimes be an expression of the broader will repressed by the state. Or it can be the violent fanaticism of the few.

In the case of latter, intelligence, with roots spreading far and wide, will be able to preempt most acts because the terrorists, lacking popular support, will be exposed regularly. Preparing and planting bombs does take an awful amount of co-ordination, time and effort; enough to raise suspicion in the ghettoes where they fester.

In the case of former, if it is the will of the people, the only long-term solution is dialogue. Force has never worked - not in Ireland, not in Jaffna, not in Vietnam.

The terrorism of Saturday is without any popular base. The overwhelming majority of any community in India wants its peace and fundamental rights.

Let's not give in to the stridency of the hour: let's rejig the system. For once, our blood-sucking beureaucrats and politicians are under fire: let's take intelligence away from their polluting influence and build something along the line of FBI.

Giving absolute power to the absolutely corrupt is stupid.

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