Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

No negotiations with criminals

India should have a policy of no negotiations with criminals whether they are terrorists, abductors, kidnappers, hijackers, pirates or Maoists. The policy should be followed by central and state governments. The policy should be irrespective of who the hostage is. The hostage may be a minister’s daughter, engineer, doctor, collector, truck driver or someone else. It does not matter whether there is one hostage or there are many hostages. When the policy of no negotiations is declared and followed there will be no pressure on any government.

Since December 1989 when Rubiya Sayeed was abducted and five terrorists were released there have been many cases when India has surrendered to criminals and released prisoners or paid ransom. In recent years Maoists have abducted many people and state governments have released prisoners. The abductions continue.

In December 1999 a hijacked plane was allowed to take off from Amritsar and go to Kandahar. Three terrorists were released who caused many deaths later on.

According to a police officer, DGP Dinakaran, 20 crore rupees were paid as ransom to Veerappan when Rajkumar was abducted. He had said chief minister paying ransom is misconduct and not official secret. There was demand to release prisoners and it would have been met had not one retired police officer whose son had died in an encounter with Veerappan gang had gone to court and stopped it. The Government of Karnataka argued in Supreme Court that if the prisoners were not released there would be a law and order problem. The bench headed by S. P. Bharucha did not allow release of prisoners. The government was told if you cannot control you quit.

Many times criminals dictate who should be mediators and these mediators are their associates.
Sometimes TV channels show members of families of hostages crying. Once Vinod Mehta of Outlook said to Vikram Chandra of NDTV showing tears is pornography.

One instance when India did not surrender to terrorists was during 26/11. Whether there was any negotiation for sometime is debatable but there was no surrender and the terrorists were shot dead.

India should undo its mistakes. Criminals beginning with Rubiya Sayeed abduction case who demanded release of prisoners or ransom should be prosecuted. Rubiya Sayeed should be questioned about her abduction. All prisoners released should be asked to surrender within seven days failing which they should be declared fugitives dead or alive. S. M. Krishna who was chief minister of Karnataka must make public how 20 crore rupees were collected.

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