‘‘Every form of Naxalism, be it the one with guns or the one with pens, they have to be uprooted to prevent them from misleading the youth of the country,’’ said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a ‘‘Chintan Shivir’’ or brainstorming camp of home ministers and director general of police of all states in Faridabad via video conferencing on 27 October 2022. Modi also said that his government has introduced several reforms for strengthening the law and order system, which he claimed have helped in maintaining a peaceful environment in the country. ‘‘Laws like UAPA [Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act] have given strength to the system in a decisive battle against terrorism,’’ he added. Under the provisions of the draconian legislation, UAPA, investigation agencies get 180 days to probe a case, as against 60-90 days under ordinary criminal law. This means an accused is eligible to apply for bail only after six months. A court cannot award bail to accused persons if there appears to be prima facie truth to the allegations made against them. In other words, an indication is given that as already many dissenters have been branded as ‘Urban Naxals’ and detained in jail, the vista would now be widened to muzzle all voices of protest and dissent by recklessly invoking the black acts and, if necessary, using spyware like Pegasus, thereby forbidding any criticism of the BJP government which would be equated with terrorism or anti-nationalism. In fact, Union Home Minister, at the Chintan Shibir of the BJP at Haryana, mooted a proposal of establishing National Investigation Agency (NIA) in various states to contain terrorism, money-laundering etc., which also indicated that all autocratic power related to containing voice of opposition on the pretext of combating terrorism is going to be concentrated more and more in the hands of the central government.
Pertinent to mention that in a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC) held in Mumbai and New Delhi on 28 & 29 October 2022 respectively, on the theme of ‘Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes’, India’s External Affairs Minister echoed that ‘Terrorism remains one of the gravest threats to humanity’. But he did not answer, who is responsible for this threat to humanity, nor did he put the blame on countries like the US and other imperialist countries, the agencies like CIA, who in fact funded, trained and supplied modern arms and weapons to these so called ‘‘terrorist groups’’ for decades, for their own political and strategic interests, all over the world. The Minister was only concerned about the ‘‘misuse of new technologies such as encrypted messaging and cryptocurrency, use of drones, and quadcopters, virtual private networks, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), social media platforms by the terrorist groups’’ and expressed that ‘‘despite the counter terrorism measures, the threat of terrorism is only growing and expanding, particularly in Asia and Africa.’’ These two days’ deliberations have failed to pinpoint the root cause of this defined—‘‘terrorism’’. It only suggested certain measures and steps to counter ‘terrorism’, such as ‘‘dismantlement of terrorist safe havens, sanctuaries, training grounds, financial and ideological as well as political support structures and need for transparent functioning of the Security Council sanctions regime’’ etc. Decrying the move to target journalists, civil society activists, human rights defenders, and political opponents, which is a clearcut violation of human rights carried out in the guise of ‘counter terrorism’, Ireland’s representative in the conference held that: ‘‘Often, counter-terrorism measures violate human rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the right to privacy highlighted how hacking tools and mass surveillance of public places, purportedly to counter terrorism, are misused to target journalists, human rights defenders, and political opponents. Human rights violations carried out in the guise of counter terrorism increase radicalization.’’ Norway’s representative also supported Ireland on the protection of human rights and privacy. ‘‘Freedom of expression must be protected both offline and online’’, he added. Emphasizing the above point, Scott Campbell, Human Rights and Digital Technology Team Leader at the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, also raised the issue of ‘‘surveillance and spyware tools being used by law-enforcement authorities against dissenting voices in the name of countering terrorism.’’ ‘‘Such spyware tools have frequently been used for illegitimate and much broader aims, including to clamp down on critical or dissenting views and on those who express them.’’ Campbell further ‘‘called for a moratorium on their use and marketing until adequate safeguards are developed and put in place… to fight terrorism, these have often been used over vague definitions of terrorism or terrorist acts, and at times have granted extensive executive powers without sufficient safeguard against abuse.’’
It is clear from the above how the governments in different countries, in the name of countering terrorism, are misusing the power to clamp down on the freedom of the people who are opponents of the Government policies. So, the real target of the ‘counter terrorism committee’, are not the so called the ‘terrorists’ groups, but the people who are opposed to the anti-people policies of the governments and who are against the surveillance and spy network imposed upon the people. Such measures of the governments are only meant to curb the freedom, civil liberties and constitutional rights of the people—what the Modi-led BJP government of India is now in avid pursuit of. For ruthlessly exploitative, utterly inhuman and corrupt imperialists-capitalists and their pliant governments India included, there is now no other alternative but to bare their fascist tooth and claw in the attempt, though to be proved futile in the long run, to suppress growing people’s protests and, at times, upsurges against their escalating repression and oppression. It is the people and not the tyrannical rulers who have always spoken the last word.