Month: February 2011

Surrender is not maturity

After the government of Orissa surrendered to the demands of Maoists for release of a collector and an engineer BJD MP Jay Panda said the government acted with maturity. Maturity is a word overused and misused by journalists and politicians. Surrender is not maturity.

The state government abdicated its responsibility when it agreed to negotiate with criminals and accepted their demands. This makes mockery of the rule of law.

The risk of losing lives of hostages needs to be taken. If criminals kill hostages they are guilty of murder and they shall be caught dead or alive. If caught alive they shall be hanged after due process of law.
In 1972 Israel did not surrender to Black September when they abducted Israeli athletes in Munch. Israeli athletes died. Israel tracked down Black September members and killed them.

In 1972 Israel did not surrender when an aeroplane having Israeli passengers was hijacked and taken to Entebbe. It rescued hostages.

During the hearing of Binayak Sen’s bail application some EU observers had come to watch the proceedings. It is time for India to return the compliments. Indian observers should watch proceedings in some trials in EU countries. Trial of Julian Assange can be a good beginning.

Boring tournament

Cricket World Cup 2011 is proving to be a boring tournament. It has 14 teams and spread over 43 days. Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games are of 14-16 days. Football World Cup with 32 teams is about 32 days.

When Cricket Word Cup began in 1975 there were eight teams and four matches per day. The gap between matches was not long. In 1987 there were three matches per day. In 2011 it is one match or two matches per day with long gaps for teams in between. India played Bangladesh on 19/2/2011 and its next match against England is on 27/2/2011. In an ODI tournament a team having to wait for 5-8 days to play its next match is strange.

In 2015 the ODI tournament will be restricted to 10 teams. That may make the tournament interesting. Some want minnows to be part of ODI tournament. Sometimes minnows have done well. In 1979 Sri Lanka defeated India. In 1983 Zimbabwe defeated Australia. Kenya defeated West Indies in 1996 and reached semi-final in 2003. Ireland defeated Pakistan in 2007. Now Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are Test playing nations. Minnows can play in Twenty20 World Cup which will have 16 teams. There are not many people in countries like Ireland, Holland and Bermuda who watch cricket on TV and that may be the reason for their exclusion from ODI format.

The web site for sale of tickets for final and semi-finals crashed soon after tickets went for sale. It is said that 10 million people wanted to buy tickets online but I doubt that figure. In cricket publicity stunts are normal. When tickets were put for sale for IPL in South Africa it was said that all tickets were sold within five minutes. When the matches took place there were not many spectators. TV channels should be careful about what they report and should not function as PR agencies.

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.