Burhan Wani and the Chinks in India’s Armor- Police, Judiciary, and Media

Image Credits: ANI News

This article was first published on myind.net here https://www.myind.net/burhan-wani-and-chinks-indias-armor-police-judiciary-and-media

The killing of Burhan Wani -a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, on whose head the Government of India had announced Rs 1 Million bounty (read and read ) -in an encounter involving armed resistance on July 8 with J&K police and 19 Rashtriya Rifles -is an excellent achievement by Indian State. Wani’s killing will surely prevent some terror activity in J&K.

Yet, this success also underlines chinks in India’s security armor. The fact is that Wani could openly move around and recruit people on social media shows up weaknesses in surveillance by local police.

The Central investigating agency NIA has stepped up its activities for arresting accused, wanted, or suspected terrorists. Recently, NIA captured of Yasir Niamatullah, ISIS’s Hyderabad Chief and his fund raiser Athaullah Rehman.  Earlier On June 28, NIA and UP’s STF nabbed key accused for murder of NIA offer Tanzeel Ahmed. On May 20, NIA arrested Indian Mujahideen’s senior member Abdul Wahid Siddiba in Delhi.  NIA has arrested wanted or suspected people in 27 cases in 2016 alone (read). A look at NIA’s archives shows that it has stepped up its pace of activities considerably in years 2014, 2015, and further more in 2016. Modi Government is clearly progressing on this front.

While a more active NIA is a good sign -it puts pressure on local police to act – it is clearly not enough as shown by serious terror attacks kike Pathankot, Gurdaspur, and Jammu in recent times.

Add Maoist terror to the Islamic terror. Naxalites operate in 60 districts of India known as the Red Corridor. Many of these areas are out of bounds of Indian State.

A specialist agency like NIA cannot operate alone.

Good old policing involving regular beats, informer networks, surveillance, collaborative intelligence, preventive arrests, investigation, preparing solid cases for prosecution, and securing quick convictions is an essential foundation of any State’s security apparatus. The foundation needs fit, competent, and dedicated police well equipped with hard and soft weapons (Information technology, Forensics etc.)

 

Our police forces present quite the opposite picture -that of corruption, sloth, and incompetence. They are ill equipped and undertrained. Their morale is low due to their cynical use by Congress Governments and those like Left, TMC, and SP governments for many decades for targeting political rivals.

In J&K, terrorists roam free and recruit people openly through social media. Punjab is lost to drugs. UP is forever on the edge of violence e.g. Muzaffarnagar riots and Kairana exodus. UP’s badlands are quite infamous. Bihar’s Goonda Raj of abductions and killings have found a permanent place in Bollywood movies. MP’s Vyapam scam has run through different governments. In West Bengal, there are factories of bomb making. A police station in Malda was attacked by a Muslim mob, and there have been a spate of political killings. In Haryana, the agitation for Jat reservations triggered well planned violence. In Maharashtra, Govind Pansare’s killers were at large for a long time and even now one is not sure if police can secure a conviction. In Karnataka, local police were clueless in the Kalburgi muder case. Kerala, like West Bengal has witnessed a spate of political killings of RSS workers.

The above are some of the well publicized cases.  In India’s cities, towns, and villages’ crimes like murders, rapes occur. Compared to these crimes traffic rule violations may seem minor but they claim a large number of lives across the country. Many of these crimes go unresolved. In many cases accused are let off either due to shoddy investigations or due to long judicial delays.

When convictions are secured they come after years in trial court followed by decades in appeals. Even major cases like Mumbai’s 26/11 terror attack, Serial Bomb Blasts and Parliament attack dragged on for decades. Lalu’s conviction in fodder scam and Jaya’s conviction in disproportionate assets case took decades and they are still work in progress. Coal scam and the 2G scam cases are meandering through our courts. The National Herald case with Sonia and Rahul Gandhi as prime accused gets kicked around among by trial court and High Court and Supreme Court.  Our courts give long rope to terror and scam convicts, but they give short shrift to ordinary people.

With Crores of cases pending in our courts and Lakhs of poor helpless under-trials languishing in jails our Judicial system -beset with archaic procedures, stuck in feudal attitudes, and thoroughly gamed by vested interests -virtually allies with police to make the rule of law impossible.

Our mainstream media’s ‘objectivity’ and ‘responsible journalism’ is so legendary that special reports that document them month after month appear regularly (Read and see ). In our media, facts get chosen or ‘created’ based on agenda and every ‘editorial’ trick is used to give the ‘required’ slant to a ‘report’.  Boring reports are given a miss and they are replaced by juicy ‘stories’ suited to the owners’ political or business interests. Our media convert terrorists and secessionists into heroes. After Wani’s encounter and violence it triggered, PM Modi had to exhort media to desist from such behavior.

If police are ‘accountable’ to their political masters in the states, our Judiciary and Media are not accountable to anyone. All three remain unaccountable to the public good. Our media feeds on public cynicism about the rule of law and feeds into it through its lies. Police, Judiciary, and media constitute a deeply entrenched vicious circle.

 

How is this related to India’s security? In the eyes of common citizens, the rule of law is non-existent. There is no fear that when a law is broken consequences will follow swiftly and proportionately if one is backed by mafia, a political party or if one has right connections. Ordinary people know that they have to fend for themselves.

Whether it is rape by a juvenile or terror or drug running by hardened and indoctrinated people our media and some political parties peddle theories of ‘discrimination, atrocities by security forces, humiliation, lack of education, poverty etc.’ They take away our attention from the real cause.

Missing rule of law makes exploitation by private parties or by government officials attractive. A society bereft of a working law breeds cynicism. It provides every incentive to murder, rape, corruption, or terror.

Khalistani terror in Punjab was rooted out by a sustained and strong police action under K P S Gill, the then DGP of Punjab. A peace accord could work there because Indian State made its intentions clear and came down heavily on those indulging in violence. A similar approach is needed all over India.

While we see actions like terrorist Wani’s encounter and arrests by NIA,  no actions are seen for making police and policing effective. Agencies like CBI and ED (Enforcement Directorate) have still not improved. No actions are visible to make our Judiciary accountable to its performance. No actions are seen to make media accountable for reporting facts and keeping opinions separate.  Police, Judiciary, and Media are the chinks in Indian State’s armor. They keep us vulnerable to further terror attacks.

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