The Indian government, cross party, has shown little creativity in their legal tool kit. Despite Pakistan being named, again and again, as responsible for the attack, no official has been named in an investigation or prosecution, or proceeded against legally. Can the Indian government do so? Currently, with great difficulty, but it can add to its legal arsenal, and use the law to build a case against Pakistan. The law offers a peaceful, accountable and legitimate response to terrorism.
What cannot be ignored is that we are also fighting a war of ideas. Love towards one’s nation cannot be regulated; it cannot be manufactured or policed. By silencing individuals using laws of sedition, institutional action, and intimidation, and by denying these citizens of the Indian republic their right to free expression, we merely brush the most hostile and destructive ideas under the carpet instead of tackling them in the public sphere.
It is beyond contest that the leadership, the troops on ground, policy-makers, police and everyone else joined together to create this tragedy of errors and they were guilty of criminal negligence leading to loss of precious lives of trained soldiers. Worst part is that CRPF in particular and policy makers and others responsible for controlling the situation refuse to learn from past mistakes and such tragic loss of life keeps recurring with alarming regularity.
Grandstanding about surgical strikes could have been avoided. Public pronouncement of the strikes and resultant aggressive retaliatory actions by the Pakistanis has in fact put authorities under more pressure. On one hand expectations of masses have been raised and on the other the locals living along the border are finding their daily life totally disrupted due to daily exchange of fire.
Mutilation of dead bodies is a ‘clear violation’ of both customary, and treaty norms in both international armed conflict (IAC) and non-international armed conflict (NIAC). Under international criminal law, the prohibition of mutilating dead bodies in international armed conflicts is covered as a war crime.
The apex court refused to stop the deportation from taking place, citing that as per the Government’s statement the men had consented to being repatriated, and that Myanmar had accepted them as “citizens/nationals”. The key considerations based on which the Supreme Court refused intervention in the deportation of the Rohingya men were gravely misplaced, and raises grave concerns about its willingness to preserve basic human rights.
Mob lynching in India in many cases has received the sanction of the State, just like how the U.S. Senate kept silent while thousands of African Americans were lynched over many decades. To recognise the deep-seated abhorrence in the society, and calling it what it is, that is “lynching”, sends a very powerful message that criminal acts of hatred are not tolerated in an equitable society.
That Azad was kept in prison for 15 months, despite a court order saying his arrest by ‘politically motivated’, is quite the proof that preventive detentions are unconstitutional laws that equip the executive with judicial powers. Under these preventive laws, the State is the victim, the arbitrator and the judge. And NSA is being used widely, especially in Uttar Pradesh under Yogi government, to target Muslims and Dalits protesting the oppressive Hindutva regime.
The notable rise in the recent cases of sedition in India, urge the question of the origins and relevance of the law in contemporary times. Is the a law a mere colonial residue which treats citizens as subjects, or is it essential in troubled times to keep the fabric of the nation from falling apart?
This piece comments on the Bhima Koregaon arrests, the multitude of problems with the UAPA as well as its empirically evident history of sinister targeting of those defending the powerless against State excesses. UAPA criminalises ideology and association. By virtue of declaring an organisation 'unlawful’ or/and ‘terrorist’ and banning them, it criminalises their ideologies de facto” and verily creates a regime of thought crimes. A disturbing pattern of targeting those working for the rights of minorities subscribing to ideologies at variance with that of the dominant state brass emerges if one were to look at those who were detained for years under the UAPA.
International law recognises the practice of enforced disappearance as a distinct offence and States have an obligation under international law to not partake in such arbitrary deprivations of liberty and human dignity. Article 1 of the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance places a non–derogable prohibition against enforced disappearance. While Pakistan has taken steps, India is woefully behind in recognising enforced disappearance as a distinct offence.