Death of a “terrorist”

This one, thanks to Churumuri, is a must read-

In a news programme, Vyas made this strategy explicit: he asked why civil rights activists were so concerned about the civil rights of terrorists and so indifferent to the civil rights of ordinary citizens who were victims of terror. Colin Gonsalves, a lawyer, pointed out that this was the reddest of red herrings because no civil rights group had remotely made the case that the perpetrators of terror ought to go unpunished, but Vyas, ironically Gujarat’s minister for health, wasn’t debating Gonsalves, he was trying to tap into a public appetite for summary justice, an appetite that would absolve vigilante policemen of any blame; that would, in fact, make them heroes.

Unless we learn to monitor and protest the impunity with which the State and the police resort to extra-judicial murder and custodial killing, outrage at specific instances of these becomes ineffective, even counter-productive. So if you rage and grieve when a middle-class Muslim girl who could have been your daughter is killed but ignore the recent and mysterious death of a murderous hoodlum called R. Rajan in police custody in Chennai, you aren’t protesting the violation of due process or taking a stand against extra-judicial murder: you are merely riding a private hobby horse: the welfare of minorities or the wickedness of the Gujarat government.

The Congress spokesperson and member of parliament, Manish Tiwari, made the point that the Central government’s affidavit asserting that Ishrat and her companions were terrorists made no difference to the material facts of the case against the Gujarat police, namely their complicity in cold-blooded executions carried out without warrant or due process. The Congress, he said, wanted a probe into all custodial deaths and encounters that had been reported during the tenure of Narendra Modi’s government.

The problem with this otherwise unexceptionable position is that Tiwari speaks for a party that has helped make State-sponsored murder and extra-judicial killing a form of State policy in states like Chhattisgarh. It was in 2005 that Mahender Karma, Congress member of the legislative assembly and leader of the Opposition in Chhattisgarh, pioneered the idea of training civilians as special police officers, paying them a monthly wage, and then arming them to liquidate anyone tarred with the brush of another form of terror, Naxalism. We have seen State-sponsored vigilante killing by these ‘special police officers’ formally adopted as policy by state governments in Manipur, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to deal with Naxalite/Maoist insurgency. Why should Manish Tiwari expect the Gujarat police and the Bharatiya Janata Party government there to submit themselves to the rule of law when his own party, the Congress, sees due process as a luxury that India can’t afford?

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  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On September 13, 2009 at 12:21 am

    churumuri – this blog is so biased, it’s like watching a regular indian news channel on the internet. and thats not why i come to the internet. in india, leftists are the rightists and the rightists are the leftists. so plzzzz, spare me this moron and send him to the seventh level of dantes hell thats where he belongs.

    • Aristotle The Geek  On September 13, 2009 at 2:07 am

      The article is by Mukul Kesavan writing for the Telegraph. The blog itself, yes it is a bit biased. (You should see the comment wars.) But then it is run by journalists who are part of the MSM.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On September 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    so he intentionally tries to voice an opinion which goes against the majority and so everybody on the internet gangs up on his blog to defend or fight it out on his comments page and thats supposed to be a fucking attraction? MSM tabloid journalists like NDTV and ToI-let are encroaching on a territory there not supposed to.

    • Aristotle The Geek  On September 13, 2009 at 10:37 pm

      I don’t think you visited the wiki article on the blog. Its run by journalists who belong to (originate from) a particular region in Karnataka. While they do have their own posts on various issues, they also link to various articles in the MSM with a brief commentary on the same, which is what nearly every blogger does.

      In this case, they linked to an article in the Telegraph. So if you have to blame someone, blame the paper. Churumuri’s simply saying – “Here’s an interesting article. What do you think?” And the comments come pouring in. Nothing wrong in that.

      As for going against the majority, there is nothing sacrosanct about it. The majority being in favor or against a particular action is not proof of the correctness or otherwise of that action.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On September 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    The majority being in favor or against a particular action is not proof of the correctness or otherwise of that action.
    and who decides whats wrong and whats right? so if the majority isn’t in favour of legalizing homosexuality, are they wrong in doing that? doesn’t the majority make up a society? it’s true that there’s a gene in our body that determines our sexual preference and it’s also true that men wish to marry multiple partners but the law doesn’t allow them to do it cause the society doesn’t accept that sh!t. so if marrying multiple partners is wrong according to the law, then doesn’t the same logic be applied to homosexuality also? if you look at it, the “correctness” that you talk about is just a matter of personal opinion – truth not withstanding.

    and if you say the society isn’t educated or aware enough then who’s fault is that? the media, the films, the music industry, the whatever who has to power to shape the morality of the general public, what the hell are they doing? manufacturing consent is the name of the game, right?

    • Aristotle The Geek  On September 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

      Ah! You now enter the realm of philosophy—ethics, politics, jurisprudence.

      # “and who decides whats wrong and whats right?”
      It depends on whether you are a moral relativist, subjectivist, objectivist, absolutist etc. The relativist (some call it nihilist) would say there is no such thing—right or wrong. The subjectivist would say that it depends on the person. The absolutist, objectivist etc would say that a single morality does exist but would have different ideas about whether its universal or absolute.

      I am a moral subjectivist. I have certain views about right and wrong. And when I say something is so-and-so, unless I am referring to facts, it means “I think” something is so-and-so. And when people deal with me, that have to do so according to those standards.

      As far as I am concerned, the majority does not decide what is right or wrong. And what the majority decides is not law. Such a society would be a majoritarian one— if 51 people out of 100 decide something, the other 49 have to submit; even if these 51 decided that rape and theft is legal as long as the people being raped and robbed are part of the 49. There is no reason why this should be deemed to be a “moral” system. Its simply thuggery on a grand scale. One can accept it, however, if one wants to.

      On homosexuality and multiple partners, you are right. Anyone who accepts that the majority has the right to “create” law, and thus enforce monogamy, should also accept the criminalization of homosexuality. They should also accept, without reservation, whatever else the majority deems to be correct.

      # “and if you say the society isn’t educated or aware enough then who’s fault is that?”
      The people themselves. One can bring the horse to the water, but can’t make it drink. Someone who doesn’t want to get educated, or understand something, will never do all those things, and no one can make him do so either. As for the media, films etc—”the power to shape morality”— you give them too much credit. When the “democratic” Greeks refused to listen to someone like Socrates and even tried to kill Aristotle, you think these mindless idiots can somehow improve the morals of a billion people?

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