If, as is being suspected, the Popular Front of India (PFI) and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) are radical outfits promoting terrorist activity, the crackdown on Thursday by the NIA and ED would be valid pre-emptive action. If, however, these outfits have extremist ideological inclinations but are committed to functioning within the democratic set-up, the raids and arrests would be executive over-reach. The courts will decide, of course, and hopefully credible evidence will be presented to hold up the government’s case.
Although the opposition parties are divided in their response to the arrests, it is being said that the government has been using the ED and the NIA for political reasons. Unfortunately for all involved, judicial verdicts are so slow in coming that the people are left to pass their own judgements on the correctness of such actions. And going by the recoveries in most raids, it would seem that there is much justification in the action taken. Another allegation, of course, is that ED and NIA targets only those belonging to the opposition while overlooking those equally guilty in the BJP ranks. There is some truth in the allegation but transgressors belonging to the opposition cannot demand a clean chit on that basis. All they can hope for is the opportunity to pay back in the same style when they come to power.
While it is easy to state that the Road Transport and Highways Ministry under Nitin Gadkari is performing well on the basis of the ‘concrete’ evidence on display, at quite another level, the Home Ministry under Amit Shah, too, has been pretty active. Its achievements are difficult to assess as many of the problems it deals with are decades old, such as Naxalism, insurgencies, separatism, sedition (the real kind), terrorism, etc. It must be conceded that the necessary clarity of thought and purpose, which had been utterly lacking in earlier dispensations, has played a major role in considerably improving the situation. Modi and Shah have ensured that appeasement of interest groups is no longer done for mere political advantage. By putting India’s security first, they have exercised both strength and flexibility to resolve many of the issues. Going by this experience, one would tend to give the ED and NIA benefit of the doubt in the ongoing proceedings. There is no way that terrorism can be allowed to spread its wings under any guise. Nipping it in the bud is the best strategy and fake liberalism should not be allowed to get in the way.