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?