Your Rights End Where My Terror Begins

A phone in poll today on CNN-IBN’s Face the Nation:

Should human rights take a back-seat in favour of tougher terror laws?

65% say Yes!

Thus speaketh the great Indian middle-class- Enough is enough!

Isn’t it interesting that those who benefit the most from democratic process and civil liberties have the least appreciation for them? Because of course its not their human rights that are ever in question. A few hours at the tender mercies of our police force and I wonder how many will still be scrambling to sms their assent…

Update: The mighty have spoken. After explicitly coming to power on the promise of abrogating POTA the government enacts “anti-terror” legislation exactly like it. It allows the police to hold a suspect for upto 180 days without filing a charge sheet and shifts the burden of proof onto the accused. The one difference is that custodial confessions are still inadmissible in court. However what does it take to “coach” someone and have them appear before a magistrate to “record” their confession. After all, why else is someone being held for 6 months without charges? So the police can perform their pedagogic roles obviously…And this is being touted as a “fair balance” between “human rights” and “national security”. Surprisingly Mahesh Rangarajan seems to concur:

“Despite the enormous public pressure, the government has done a tightrope walk by ensuring necessary legal safeguards. It is a firm but measured response just three weeks after the Mumbai attacks,” said Mahesh Rangarajan, an independent political analyst. “Indian political leadership is saying, ‘We mean business,’ but it is also saying, ‘We will not let the police run amok in its hunt for the enemy.’ “

Does he know something we don’t?

7 thoughts on “Your Rights End Where My Terror Begins”

  1. Now that is very true, and that is what has led to this scenario. If people were concerned of what happened around them when all the other things happened, then we wouldnt have reached this stage…

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  2. am surpryzed,my recent ‘responses’ r disappearing….hop there iz no “BIG brother” wid a sharp scisors… n ewys,shal try 2 spik again…alrdy pota typ new bil is tabled, wait & watch ‘ now b4 u shoot ur mouth,eh! Cautious optimism…. i donno wats going on ,so…amen,peace of da graveyard…where hav al da sane mynds gone ??????????????????????????????????? me going bak 2 Mahashweta devi’s novella on/about Nandigram-shame,2007 which i stared yesterday 2 obviously clear my head of urban-english junk/trash & then try 2 “THINK” +ve!

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  3. The idiocy is of course in framing the question which assumes that stricter terror laws make us safer encouraging people to trade in civil liberties. On an unrelated note, Sagarika Ghosh was last seen asking India whether the media is too jingoistic

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  4. Are you basing your article on a filthy poll conducted by CNN-IBN?? Did you bother to ask a few critical questions to the poll managers? What was the sample size, error margin, diversity of sample etc?

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  5. no Venkat I didn’t. And my point was not to present the poll as the “truth” of what the upper-class wants, but in a situation where all access to opinion is routed through the media, its pretty shocking, and sadly unsurprising, that 65% of people who sms in to an TV poll would express these views…just as the masses of people who gathered at the gateway of India advocated going to war with Pakistan. The point of course is also what the media itself presents as ‘public opinion’ so no television channel carried any news the large protests against the Mumbai attacks in Pakistan…

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  6. Over in the Iraqi joota thread, the last two posts are interestingly characteristic of leftwing discourse:

    1. threaten.
    2. shut down dissent.

    ;-)

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  7. Dear Puzzled,

    I really am puzzled. If we were so hell-bent on shutting down dissent, why would we keep publishing your inane comments? The reason I shut down that post was because it was degenerating into one line rejoinders between people which contribute nothing to the discussion. You might think its productive to keep jawing on inanely till the cows come home, but that is really not the sort of conversation we envision beyond a point…which leads me to believe that the sort of ‘discourse’ you plump for consists of interaction that would befit a class 5 kutti-abba fight…to which i then say thank goodness for leftwing discourse whatever that is…

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