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'Tougher laws needed to fight growing menace of terrorism'

By Vicky Nanjappa
June 30, 2014 11:45 IST

‘Terrorism is a growing menace. Hence, it becomes all the more important to have a tough law to keep it in check.’

“Our investigating agencies need a good law to assist them.”

“Many countries facing the problem of terrorism have tough laws in place to tackle it. I don’t see why we, India, can’t have a tough law in place too.”

KG Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India and Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, in an interview with Vicky Nanjappa emphasizes the need of stringent laws to tackle terrorism and explains why diplomacy with other countries is a must to fight this growing menace.

Terrorism is a serious issue in India; an issue that has plagued security agencies for long. The country has witnessed several terror attacks in the past decade, killing hundreds of innocents. However, in many cases, those who have perpetrated these attacks are yet to face trial.

In an interaction with Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, former chief justice of India and Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission KG Balakrishnan emphasises the need for stringent laws to curb terrorism. In fact, he made the same point during a recently concluded seminar in London as well. 

However, Balakrishnan says that while the need of the hour is stringent laws to curb terrorism, one must ensure that the laws need to be free of politics and communalism.

Terrorism is a growing menace and has a lot of ramifications. Today, one of the biggest enemies of human rights is terrorism and hence, it becomes all the more important to have a tough law to keep it in check. In addition to this, a tougher law would help investigating agencies to solve cases and ensure that trial against terrorists reach a logical end.

However, one must also bear in mind that while these laws are implemented, there is a proper mechanism in place to ensure that they are not misused. I don’t want to get into what kind of a law should be in place, as this is a decision of the Parliament. But, this issue has to be discussed and debated and a tough law has to be put in place.

Many countries facing the problem of terrorism have tough laws in place to tackle it. I don’t see why we, India, can’t have a tough law in place too.

Our investigating agencies need a good law to assist them. It is very difficult to gather evidence in cases relating to terrorism. In many cases, people don’t come forward to provide evidence and this weakens the case. Hence, if a law, tough in nature, is implemented, it would help the investigators overcome several teething problems pertaining to investigation and trial. 

But, one has to ensure that the laws are not draconian in nature. One has to ensure that the laws are not misused and most importantly, the same should not be politicised or communalised. Each case should be fought on its merit and justice has to be done.

Terorrism is an international issue and hence, there is also a need to have proper communications with other countries. We need to have treaties with other countries and global cooperation is required to hunt down the terrorists.

One way to deal with this issue was to introduce an international criminal law and bring such attacks under the purview of this law. The ones responsible for these offences could then be tried by the International Criminal Court. 

Image: A student lifts a placard as he and others line up to take part in a march for peace in Mumbai. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

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