Wednesday, January 6, 2010

IC 814 - A Panic-button for National Policy not Politics


It's ten years since that very unfortunate event of IC-814 getting hijacked. What a drama that followed. Much water has flown under the bridge since then. The matter still remains alive though, not as a matter of Policy making but as a matter of politics.

One must remember that hostage crises of such magnitude are a double edged sword and we will bleed either ways, when faced with such situations. Question is what do we want to bleed for - Love for our citizens or hate for the terrorists.

The IC-814 matter was resolved through an all-party meeting decision which unanimously decided to save the innocent citizens against the other alternative of not letting out the terrorists who were demanded to be released.

I look at it as a matter of choosing love for our countrymen over the hate and despise for the terrorists and their activities. It could have been a national doctrine, a policy of the country to be followed, as far as possible, when faced with such hostage situations.

When BJP-led NDA executed the decision taken unanimously at the all-party meeting, little did they know that Congress was looking forward to rejoicing the dirty political opportunity this national tragedy had thrown open. Any well-thinking man knows that decision on either side of the available alternatives is going to bring disaster one way or the other. This event shouldn't have happened at the first place, but that it had happened was surely not any well-meaning Indian or politician's choice just like 26/11 didn't happen by choice. It happened through a chance the terrorists got because of lack of proper security measures in the system.

But to try and make political gains out of the matter was the work of a wicked and desperate mind. Only a mind wanting of arguments to hurt BJP's track record on security of the nation will use such a lowly instance for political gains.

It also marks a loss of an opportunity and, even today, a need for a National Policy against such unfortunate incidents. The politicising of this matter has confused the Indians over what should be India's response to such hostage crises in future. Should we save our people or nail the terrorists even if our innocent civilians die.

That a policy wasn't framed and politicising this matter by Congress has added to the confusion in our National Response is even more unfortunate than the instances themselves. It has caused the decision makers to tread too carefully when responding to such situations. Every decision maker will hope that he doesn't get nailed for taking a call one way or the other.

Destiny gave another opportunity to India to address this issue in the form of 26/11. While in action we were doing essentially the same thing as we did in IC-814 case, which is Salvaging and saving the lives of our innocent civilians, the polticising of IC-814 matter continued through Congress offices in order to divert the nation's attention from the 26/11 disaster.

BJP shouldn't be embarassed at all about its decision on IC-814. Some leaders who have in the past distanced themselves from the decision in the last few years must think carefully.

While Congress was busy fooling the country by raking up the issue of IC-814, India was losing another chance to give a guideline to its policymakers on how they should respond to these situations. Of course not every hostage situation may require the use of such a policy and the prevailing ground situation will decide the plan of action on the day, but we need to define what happens when someone presses that panic-button.

Sometimes, I think Congress would not want the nation to be clear on our National Response to Hostage situations as, invariably, there is going to be a larger consensus for saving the citizens. And, if that gets enshrined as our National Policy then Congress will lose their cheap tool of showing down BJP on the unfortunate matter of IC-814.

This nation can only hope that the better sense prevails on Congress and they allow for defining of action whenever a panic-button is pressed during hostage situations. I also hope that senior BJP leaders introduce a bill on such a subject at the earliest.

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