What India has witnessed in recent decades – Nellie (1983), Delhi (1984), Mumbai (1992-93), Gujarat (2002), Kandhamal (2007) – are nothing short of crimes against humanity, pogroms targeting religious minorities with the complicity, connivance, even sponsorship of state actors. Report after fact-finding report keeps pointing towards police partisanship and the devious role of communal outfits in communal conflagrations across the country. The consistently partisan role of the police is another facet of the same problem.
The impunity enjoyed by the masterminds and the perpetrators of ‘mob terror’ has in turn given birth to ‘bomb terror’. If this is bad enough, even more disturbing is the partisan conduct in the investigation of terror acts by security agencies. Over the years, a pattern has emerged where frequently young Muslims are detained, framed, tortured and damned only to be declared ‘not guilty’ by the courts in most cases. That’s after long years on incarceration with no accountability for the trauma and devastation inflicted on the accused and their families. On the other hand is the facilitation of the acquittal of Hindu extremists booked in acts of “saffron terror” and police officers guilty of “extra-judicial” killing of citizens in fake encounters.
IMSD fully supports the over decade-long demand of secular activists for a law to curb communal crimes incorporating the doctrine of command responsibility. Such a law must address a range of issues pertinent to hate propaganda, build-up to and the subsequent eruption of violence. These include:
- Teaching of prejudice through doctored history books
- Hate Propaganda and demonisation of target groups
- Arms training by communal groups
- Vigilantism and moral policing
- Communalisation of the police and other security agencies
- Communal misuse of draconian laws
- Doctrine of command responsibility to hold senior officers and communal masterminds accountable for their acts of commission and omission
- Adequate relief, rehabilitation and reparation measures
India’s prevailing culture of impunity must end. The vicious cycle of ‘mob-terror’ and ‘bomb terror’ must be broken.