Security forces debate human rights vs fighting terrorism

November 20th, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) Emotions ran high amongst the audience in the capital Thursday as security forces’ personnel debated whether terrorism in the country can be effectively tackled by respecting by the book human rights. Organised by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Rapid Action Force, the debate was under the aegis of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Debating for and against the motion with equal fervour, uniformed men and women put forth their opinions.

S.C. Rizwan of the Border Security Force (BSF) stood for the motion and said that terrorism can be tackled by respecting the human rights of the people.

“Mahatma Gandhi had very rightly said ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind’. To tackle terrorism which has been associated with one religion, if people from other religion also start attacking then the whole country is going to come to an end,” he said.

Sumahan Ghosh of the BSF also supported the motion, saying that to begin with, socio economic torture of the common man in hands of the people who are supposed to safeguard them should be stopped.

“Maladministration should first be handled well. Things like fake encounters and custodial deaths should be taken into strict account and the criminal justice system be strengthened. Disparity amongst people of a community gives rise to anger which makes some take extreme steps,” Ghosh said.

Quoting examples, like that of Mohammad Afzal who is convicted of conspiracy in the Dec 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, those countering the motion said that people who can kill innocents and don’t respect human rights, don’t deserve theirs to be respected either.

“If Afzal Guru’s plan had worked, just imagine what would have happened. Take the example of the serial bomb blasts in the capital in September, or the blasts in Assam — hundreds of innocent people have been affected by these.

“If these terrorists don’t think twice before killing a woman, a child or an aged person, then why should their human rights be respected? This way we can never tackle terrorism,” Arpana Pant of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) said.

While the jury, which included the chief of NHRC, Justice (Retd) Rajendra Babu, were yet to take their decision, the crowd seemed to be more inclined to those debating against the motion - that terrorism cannot be tackled with human rights.

“The points highlighted by those standing against the motion were more practical, not idealistic. That’s why the crowd was more taken by them,” said Abha Pandey, one of those sitting in the crowd.

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