NIA & State police working at odds

NIA & State police working at odds

There seems to be no end to the woes of the police in dealing with terror-related cases in various States. The findings of the supra-body, the...

There seems to be no end to the woes of the police in dealing with terror-related cases in various States. The findings of the supra-body, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), have been at odds with those of the State investigators in at least Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. In fact, the issue is of a wider dimension, and before finding the fault lines at the State level, there does seem to be urgent need for creating cogent and effective centralized machinery to prevent embarrassing flip-flops.

The NIA is indeed one such mechanism but the proposal to have a national counter-terrorism body could have provided an added cushion. However, it floundered on the anvil of reservations on the part of the state governments for fear of infringement of their powers in a federal set-up. The apprehensions would be understandable, but in the prevailing situation the imperatives of national security must have primacy.

As is the case, the NIA formally charge-sheeted members of a Hindu terrorist organization in the 2006 Malegaon blast case, overturning the Maharashtra ATS findings that had booked nine Muslim youths in connection with the outrage. Also, the NIA is on the way to establishing the Malegaon link of the saffron outfit with the Mecca Masjid, Samjhauta Express and Ajmer blasts, contradicting the police version of connecting them with the Muslim youths. Following in the trail is the decision of the trial court in Gorakhpur allowing bail to Liaqat Ali Shah, hailing from Kashmir, who was picked up by the Delhi police on the charge of helping a terror gang in Delhi to carry out a deadly blast in the capital on Holi festival.

Even as the case is pending the final verdict, the fact that Shah has been freed on bail and is, in fact, back with his family in Kashmir has the makings of an anti-climax to the negation of the conspiracy theory put out by the Delhi Police against him. The final word in the case, of course, is yet to be said by the court.

This is not about all, as news comes from UP of the death of an accused, Tariq Mujahid, while being escorted to Lucknow. This was part of the ruling Samajwadi Party poll promise to set free a host of Muslim youths languishing in the State jails on "trumped-up" terror charges, depending of course on judicial clearance.

However, all these cases have already received wide publicity and, as such, they do not need further elaboration. In the present context, this only underlines the immediacy of making a comprehensive policy to identify the suspects correctly and making the process foolproof, particularly when the cases made out by the NIA have been found to be so often at variance with the initial police findings. Undeniably, this makes out a strong case for evolving an umbrella mechanism nation-wide.

Terror remains a burning question in India as well as in many other countries: the Boston bombing shook America, and in the latest case came the hacking of a British soldier in London in a terror attack.A The rise of terror in the West has been attributed to varied factors, often debatable. The brutality witnessed right in the heart of London the other day was simply blood-curdling and earned all-round condemnation from every community.

Even as the British government went immediately into damage control (Prime Minister David Cameron called it "a betrayal of British society and a betrayal of Islam"), the white vigilante groups and goons went on the rampage, targeting the mosques. They, as well as the suspects, drew no sympathy from their respective communities. The best antidote is to react to such situations with a sense of maturity and firmness.

Yet, going by all reasons, India should be the most unlikely target of terror attacks, but it is not unfortunately so just because reason is the first casualty in all such madness. Else, India unlike others, has no neo-colonial hang-ups, no military presences, no expansionist ambitions. Yet, there has been no let-up in the threats from the inimical LeT, Huji and other militant/terror outfits just in the neighborhood.

India, by experience, has been skeptical of the assurances coming from the rulers of Pakistan, its dictators as well as those democratically elected. Indeed, the election of Nawaz Sharif has provided a ray of hope, but this is yet to be tested. Sharif has had some good words to say about relationship with India but one can only hope that the military set-up there won't come in the way. So, let us watch and see �and hope.

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