Jalandhar, 5 March, (HSB)
Terming NCTC as a dangerous proposal and a terrific idea designed to stifle the dissenting voice of minorities under the garb of combating terrorism the radical Sikh organization Dal Khalsa has shot off a letter to Indian Home Minister P.Chidambaram.
The Indian government’s proposal to set up a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as a multi-agency centre with an aim to combat the so-called terrorism in the country, has courted controversy right from the word go. The proposal has been put on hold for the time being after a good number of Chief Ministers have raised their objections describing centre’s move as an
encroachment on the powers of state governments.
Various Sikh bodies including the SAD has expressed its opposition to
the government's proposal as they apprehend that just as draconian
laws were misused to crush dissent,the wide powers to the NCTC would also be deployed to stifle the voice of those who question the bonafide of the Indian state.
Joining the issue, the Dal Khalsa has written a letter of the HM urging the Indian government to evolve methods for peaceful conflict resolution, by removing the causes of violence as well as making the existing agencies accountable to people and Parliament. The letter has asked the Government of India to shelve the idea of creating the new “anti-terror super body”.
We reproduce here the full text of the letter written by Kanwar Pal Singh, secretary of the Dal Khalsa.
Full text of the letter:
Dear Home Minister,
Dal Khalsa writes to you to express its opposition to the proposal of setting up of new body named National Counter-terrorism centre (NCTC) without prior eliberations with states, ethnic minority communities,democratic and civil liberty organisations.
While the Indian Union government is understandably concerned about the War on Terror, the Sikh nation and other nationalities are concerned about how to fight the War of Errors of the Indian state.
There is no doubt that we are living in dangerous times, but the civility of a government, its respect for rule of law and adherence to precepts of democratic functioning is tested in such times.
Many countries of the world are chasing global peace as a law and order issue without addressing sociological and political issues.India has had a poor perspective of the regional peace issues in the sub-continent. It continues to have a flawed and non-functioning federal structure.
India has a string of security and intelligence agencies, which enjoys full impunity. These agencies are beyond a parliamentary review. Their actions are contradictory to the spirit of the Indian constitution. These agencies function as if they are above the law of the land. Parliamentary review of the work of intelligence agencies is a
democratic norm which India continues to avoid steadfastly.
Since decades, minorities, ethnic nationalities and regional groups have faced the wrath of the Indian security agencies. Intelligence bodies connive with the security agencies and play havoc with the lives of people who hold dissenting views. The proposal to set up the NCTC as a superior organisation of security and intelligence bodies is fraught with danger. As we have suffered in Punjab, such dangers are galore. The impunity granted to the security forces has been responsible for death, torture and illegal detentions. The errors committed by security agencies are not just errors of judgment while in the throes of a battle, but deliberate, pre-meditated and well-executed plans of destruction and death of those “who do not agree” or those who “do not fall in line”.
While we welcome the response of states, this response is based on party considerations. States with non-Congress governments are opposing your proposal while those who see “eye to eye” with you are blindly welcoming it, without realising that once the intelligence and security agencies get powers and impunity from accountability, they turn uncontrollable Frankenstein monsters. The love for federalism, as recently projected in the media is a sham. Most of the states in India are acknowledged violators of the rightful aspirations of their people. It will not be long when for fiscal and political considerations, all will easily “fall in line”.
The manner in which the state of Punjab has been looted by the Centre in the name of restoration of law and order, rights suspended under draconian laws, we cannot buy arguments based on public utterances of your government or even that of the respective state governments. State-terrorism has been stalking the Sikhs for long. With reference to contemporary history, Dal Khalsa apprehends that just as draconian laws were (mis)used to crush dissent, now the wide powers to NCTC will be used to stifle the voice of those who question the bonafide of the Indian state. Dal Khalsa is determined to uphold its right to dissent and disagree.
We believe that resolution of political conflicts cannot be a law and order issue. India has all along made that mistake. From Kashmir to Punjab to the North-East, India has countered “terrorism” purely as a law enforcement issue and not seen it in the realm of conflict resolution within the parameters of human rights obligations. It is time that India does so. Will you consider our proposal or still ride roughshod the way it has been happening over the decades?
We urge your government to do re-thinking on the proposal to set-up NCTC. Instead of going for the creation of a new “anti-terror super body”, your government should evolve methodologies for peaceful conflict resolution thereby removing the very cause for violence as well as making the existing security and intelligence agencies
accountable to people and the Parliament.
Kanwar Pal Singh