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Not Replicable


The person of Sri Lankan origin, a follower of IS, who attacked and critically injured
several people with a knife in an Auckland supermarket, was shot dead within sixty seconds by police. The quick response was possible because he had been under police surveillance since 2016 because of his radical views. No other pre-emptive action could be taken because his opinions did not constitute an ‘actionable offence’. The police were waiting for him to act on these views, which he eventually did on Friday. So, while his human rights were protected, those injured in the attack did not exactly get the same protection. Questions are already being asked about how much damage he would have done had he been able to obtain a gun.

So, is this an example of effective governance? How much must it have cost to monitor the man’s activities over such a long time? Such extremists, many of whom are being radicalised over the internet, are still miniscule in number in New Zealand, but what when the numbers grow as they inevitably will after the morale booster fundamentalism has received after the Taliban ‘victory’ in Afghanistan? Can this ‘surveillance’ approach be expanded to watch over them all? Does New Zealand have the resources?

Now, if such an approach were to be considered the standard for a vastly more populated nation like India and nothing like the resources per capita as New Zealand, would it be possible even to make a start? Everybody’s freedom has to be balanced with the rights of others. There are many that demand application of human rights in India in the manner of such more ‘innocent’ societies, without considering the practicality of it. This is why there has been the practice of ‘preventive detention’ in India along with other precautionary measures. The battle for ordinary people’s security is being fought as much on the streets as in the courts. Those who consider western society as the role model, attempt to blindly replicate its practices without considering India’s specific stage of development and available resources. Not having any representative power, they bombard the courts with PILs to have their way. In the process, even the good work being done in the field of human rights is discredited. The situation deteriorates to the point where democratically run societies are put in the same category as the Taliban in the estimation of the ultra-liberal activists. In the process, even the gains that have been made through indigenous effort and understanding are threatened. It is obvious societies everywhere need a heavy dose of common sense these days.