January 2002 News

For victory that lasts

24 January 2002
The Indian Express

New Delhi: After the attack on Parliament, the government is, apparently, working to a well thought out plan of pressurising Pakistan into rolling back its policy of aiding and abetting cross-border terrorism and also keeping open war as a last option. It has started bearing fruit too. But we should not let ourselves be led into complacency, once again. This time, for the war to be decisive against terrorism, we must start taking actions simultaneously on the internal security front too. After September 11 and December 13, it is clear that the breeding ground for terrorism is religious extremism as is being practiced and preached in different parts of the world. Uneducated, poor and gullible people are indoctrinated and used to fuel nefarious designs against the authority of the state. So, the first and foremost step is to dismantle these institutions and organisations effectively. Ironically, Musharraf has shown us the way. Registration and NOC should be made compulsory for opening of madarsas and other such institutions which preach supremacy of some religious book over the Constitution and the law. The design behind the opening of madrasas in the border belt should be thoroughly enquired into. The government must ensure that undue appeasement is not showered on the minorities that could be misused in future. The amended provisions of Article 29 and 30 should be done away with. At the same time, reactionary Hindu fundamentalism also needs to be curbed with the same resoluteness. They should be told firmly that the cause for all indigenous militant movements is the oppression being perpetrated on the poor in the name of caste and religion. There is urgent need for a more cohesive and uniform education policy to be formulated without preconceived ideological notions. In India, Hindus and Muslims belong to the same ethnic stock and they share the same culture and values. The need of the hour is to re-inculcate the spirit of brotherhood that even Partition could not undermine till a few years ago. For this to happen, religion must be relegated to the private domain. The people have to be educated in modern institutions and a feeling of belonging to the nation. The government must strongly repudiate the Marxist notion of loose nationalism in the name of pluralism or multi-ethnicity. The unabated influx of foreigners is another cause of concern. These people are not only a drain on the resources of the country but are also a security risk. Their loyalties lie across the borders and they are also a cause for social friction. They have caused serious demographic distortions to the disaffection and chagrin of local inhabitants of the Northeast leading to unrest. The time is ripe to engage Bangladesh on this issue. Last but not the least is the important issue of starting a comprehensive dialogue process with the Kashmiris, the Nagas, the Mizos and also with the militants of PWG, Naxalites etc. The sooner it is done the better. In fact, the victory against terrorism will be shortlived if we are unable to address the developmental needs of the people of the affected areas. Development and education are the best anti-dote to the breeding of unrest.


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