Partisan action

Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s advisory letter to state chief ministers to review cases of terrorism against members of the minority communities is highly improper and unwarranted. It could also be illegal and is most certainly politically motivated. Being the Union home minister the integrity of the state and the security of all of the citizens should have been his prime concern but this advisory goes against his commitment to these objectives.

Some time back also Shinde had written to all states to ensure that innocent Muslims are not implicated in terror cases. While it is true that members of minority communities are victims of discrimination in many areas, it is wrong to give the impression that any section of the population would get special consideration in the enforcement of the functioning of law. Shinde’s letter gives that impression.

Shinde’s proposal to set up screening committees to review cases and free those who have been falsely implicated in cases is not the proper procedure in enforcing the rule of law. It is for the prosecution or the judiciary to judge the merits of a case. Issues related to security should not be communalised and it is against national and public interest to adopt a political and soft approach to them.

Terrorism has no religion and minority communities themselves would not want any sympathetic treatment of those who indulge in illegal activities among their ranks. It will also send a wrong message to the security forces and make them hesitant to act strongly. It is unfortunate that Shinde, who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, has chosen to play partisan politics.

The minister could have insisted that no innocent citizen should be implicated in cases and all those in custody without adequate evidence against them should be released after a thorough review. But this is the accepted norm of justice and common sense and does not need reiteration. Shinde is known for making bloomers and talking out of turn. But all his wrong and inappropriate statements cannot be considered to be arising from a lack of understanding about their implications.

Even that is unacceptable from a person holding his position. But there is mischievous political intent in some of his words and proposals. Whether the charges made by a former Union home secretary about Shinde’s shielding of undesirable persons is correct or not, his own public statements and actions  call his commitment to his office questionable.

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