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No consensus on fighting terror: Special judge

December 18, 2002 22:58 IST

Special Judge S N Dhingra, who sentenced Mohammad Afzal, Shaukat Hussain Guru and S A R Geelani to death in the Parliament attack case, feels that there is no consensus in the fight against terrorism

Referring to states who had refused to implement the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Dhingra, in his 296-page judgment, said, "There seems to be no national consensus in respect to response to terrorism and terrorists and the people of their clan."

Giving his verdict on the argument that police had not included provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance in the FIR against the accused, Dhingra said, "Law in this country is in a state of constant flux."

"Though POTA is a central legislation, passed by Parliament after consultation with Law Commission of India, many of the state governments have publicly announced that they would not invoke POTA.

"When debate was going on in Parliament, the Maharashtra government made an application for withdrawal of POTA charges for an accused so that its party can oppose POTA in Parliament," the strongly worded judgment said.

"Tomorrow if state assemblies in Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh... are made target by terrorists, policemen will dare not register a case under POTA, although it may be obvious to the entire world that it is a terrorist attack," Dhingra said. "Response of the people in this country to terrorism varies in accordance with their self-interest."

"Some states believe in bartering with people like Veerappan, instead of discharging their duty of protecting lives of the people from criminals and terrorists.

"Some believe in dealing with them and some in taking benefits from the troubled waters," the special judge said. "Can under such circumstances an ordinary inspector of police be blamed that he did not include the provisions of POTO when he sent the case for registration of FIR."

The special judge also made indirect references to Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir.

"Terrorism is the scourge of all humanity. It is being perpetuated and propagated by religious fanatics to poison the minds of their followers. The horrifying aspect is that some rogue states, instead of waging war and facing war, adopt to the method of terrorism by sponsoring terrorist outfits and by nourishing terrorists and fundamentalists to serve their own interests," Dhingra said.

The judge praised the security staff of Parliament house for swift action and preventing the five terrorists from entering the Parliament even at the risk of losing their lives.

"But for the swift action and alertness shown by security staff present at the parliament house, this country would have paid a heavy price on December 13, 2001," he noted.

"The intention of the terrorists was absolutely clear. The writing on the fake home ministry pass, pasted by the terrorists on the car brought by them to Parliament house read as under: 'India is a very bad country and we hate India We want to destroy India and with the grace of god we will do it. God is with us and we would do our best. This Ediet Wajplee (Idiot Vajpayee) [spellings as noted in the judgment] and Advani we will kill them. They have killed many innocent people and they are very bad persons. There [Their] brother Bush… he is also a very bad person and he will be next target'."

Onkar Singh in New Delhi and agencies