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?Strict anti-terror law with humane touch needed?

India, which is seriously affected with terrorism, is faced with the challenge of protecting human rights while preventing terrorism.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 15:10 IST

India, which is seriously affected with terrorism, is faced with the challenge of protecting human rights while preventing terrorism.

Supreme Court Judge Justice K G Balakrishnan stated this while addressing a symposium on human rights and terrorism organised by International Law Association (ILA), Indore chapter, at Anand Mohan Mathur Auditorium this evening.

Speaking as the chief guest, he said that anti-terrorist laws have to be stricter, but at the same they have to provide counterbalance to minimise human rights violation. Citing an example, he said that evidence given to the police under TADA was admissible before court of law, but there is always a doubt that police could go to any extent to forcibly extract information from the accused. However, counter-balance has been provided in the law to check it, he added.

He said terrorism ultimately affects common man and makes him easy prey for suspicion. Additional security arrangements to be made in view of terrorist attack leads to increase in taxation, which finally makes livelihood more expensive.

“Since the present generation of terrorists are armed with sophisticated weapons and are educated, it is difficult to apprehend them, produce them before court and hold fair trials,” he said. He called upon ILA to ponder over possible solutions to the problem of avoiding human right abuse while crushing terrorism.

Main speaker and Delhi High Court Judge Justice Virender Jain said that any means, which violates the sanctity of human life, couldn’t be called freedom struggle or right to dissent.

He said that India had been fighting against terrorism for long, but the international community termed it as mere internal disturbance till 9/11 took place. International community has now realised that terrorism needs to be
condemned uniformly all over the world.

“India through Mahatma Gandhi and South Africa through Nelson Mandela have proved that independence cannot be achieved by terrorism, but by civil disobedience. What terrorists call freedom struggle is an act of terrorism specially with reference to what has been happening in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and North East,” he said.

Summing up the topic, MP High Court Chief Justice A K Patnaik said that while pronouncing judgments in terrorists cases, the judiciary is required to uphold the Constitutional obligations - that is to see that right to life and liberty are not violated.

Adding that terrorism begets terrorism, he said that best way to deal with it is the isolation of terrorists and to form system of grievance redressal, which prevents the notion commonly found among militants that violence is the only way to exercise one’s right to dissent.

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 15:10 IST