As a practicing lawyer for about two decades, I have been able to understand and gather considerable information from my work atmosphere, nature of my work and the activities attached to it. This has helped me develop my own perspective on the issue of threat to the internal security of India which has become a major hurdle in the development of the nation.
Internal security is an act of ensuring and keeping peace within the borders of a nation by maintaining the national law and order and defending its people from internal security threats. Responsibility to maintain it lies with agencies ranging from police to paramilitary forces, and in demanding circumstances, the military itself.
There are two apparent and simultaneous challenges before the country and society. First, to tackle the deviation of the youth being psychologically controlled by people who threaten internal security and second, to bring back those valuable human resources which have already been deviated from the mainstream of society. Therefore, this exercise would not be possible only by the forces but would also need participation of the society which has to play a contributory role in prevention of such threats and healing the nation.
One cannot ignore the glaring fact that misguided youth who have now become a threat to internal security are, in fact, valuable national human resource. Irrespective of the remedy and treatment provided by the law, social healing may be an effective way to minimise the damage. The society at large has to play a concrete role along with the forces already tackling the challenges emerging out of the internal security threats. It would be a Utopian thought to solve problems related to internal security without proactive and consistent participation of society.
The current digital revolution and the changing circumstances relating to the same can neither be handled carelessly nor can they be ignored in the premise of internal security threat. Internal and external security are interlinked and cannot be viewed in isolation, especially considering the digital psycho-extremism emerging from a source which is hard to identify. The people who threaten internal security sitting in any part of the world are successfully providing training and guidance in the remotest of the areas in India today, by using the digital medium as a tool to destroy the efforts of Indians put in building the nation. They are destroying the nation’s valuable human resource which needs to be checked at the earliest by initiating effective measures, not only at the level of securities but by effective participation of our leadership and society. In order to survive as a developing nation, preventing erosion of human resource, staying unaffected by negativity of those threatening internal security and participation of the society are also essential.
Home grown challenges and threats from across international borders have taken different shapes, be it ethnic insurgency, militancy or terrorism that have weakened and damaged the nation. We are enhancing our capability and competence more and more to terminate the source of the threats but it has to be borne in mind that new sources are emerging rapidly.
The economic concept of the Big Push Theory is required to be implemented in the present scenario and conceptualised for strengthening the forces to eradicate all known sources of threat to internal securities. As a nation and society, we should not face any hitch in following successful nations that are geographically and demographically small. The combination of society and forces, collectively challenging internal threat are being appreciated by the world. To understand in brief, the spectrum of known sources which pose a major internal threat, following categorisation would be helpful:
·Unreformed criminal justice system
·Emerging cyber crimes and cyber security threats
·Nexus of the police, politician and criminals
Poor criminal justice system and large scale corruption leads to nexus between criminals, police and politicians with the result that organised crime goes on unabated. In the Northeast States of India, demographic invasion from Bangladesh has resulted in a serious security threat. Intense illegal movement in many of the bordering districts has brought about a total demographic transformation as the original inhabitants are being forced to sell their lands and flee to safer places. Besides Jihadi terrorism, Left Wing Extremism has emerged as country’s most serious internal security challenge. It assumed serious proportions after 2004 when PWG, MCC, Party Unity along with other splinter groups, merged together to form CPI (Maoist).
A majority of India’s internal security challenges are state-centric. This has been widespread since 1947 beginning with sponsored separatist militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, racial and cultural unrest in states of the northeast, violence in Punjab, Maoist threats spreading across eastern sea board and others. While some of these are externally sponsored and supported, others are by-products of political mismanagement, lack of governance and corruption. The situation in the states today is far from satisfactory.
Probable Suggestive Measures
The National Security Council and the Cabinet Committee on security has to evolve more effectively to frame counter strategic programme against security threats in a proactive manner. Time has come to adopt proactive methods of confining the threats by gheraoing before eradicating. The Chief Ministers of states are required to work in consonance with the Union Government with all sensitivity and by understanding the threats, the curbing of which is the responsibility of both the Union and State Governments. With the changing face of the threats, the devil of internal security threat is entering in the country from all the nooks and corners by misusing the gap of administrative lacunae.
Long pending police reforms must be finalised within a time frame. The criminal justice system is still in the shape which the British left it in and required changes have not been done. Even the language of the court is such that the person for whom it is meant cannot understand and they get the punishment by the court without understanding the language and meaning of the court. The contents of the code used to be interpreted on a day to day basis in the court of law and every image of interpretation in the court gives a new meaning. It would not be out of place to stress that every citizen has the right to know the law applicable on him. Not only is the language of the court required to be simplified, but it should also be made people friendly.
Similarly, to tackle economic offences, effective coordination is required between regulatory agencies concerned and the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB). Effective mechanism of coordination between center and state regarding governance in the field of taxes and other financial aspects is also required.
The prevention of money laundering is also essential for safeguarding internal security. Given the close nexus between drug trafficking, organised crime and terrorism, it is also necessary to improve the effectiveness of Narcotics Control Bureau. There are visible and invisible Maoists source of finance and channels of procuring weapons which deserve high priority. In case of Maoists’ action, political statements and counter statements, Centre versus State blame game, accusations of intelligence and security failure, even though relevant, but leading nowhere, should be avoided. Lack of credibility of the government is a serious matter. It becomes all the more important when it relates to security matters as lack of credibility may lead to the erosion of legitimacy, potentially threatening national stability.
Few so called NGOs and think tanks which secretly function very skillfully provide extremists with intellectual and ideological space by projecting them as social revolutionaries. Such organisations and people should be held accountable as they are equally guilty and responsible for hampering the internal security system as the people who take to arms.
India needs to strengthen its coastal security considerations to protect its vital economic interests in two million square kilometres of the Exclusive Economic Zone. Security enhancement in this vital area has been delayed for a bit too long now.
In today’s context of a nation state, the challenge lies in changing the long-term concept of national security, which we need to understand in a comprehensive sense rather in narrow military terms only. In the absence of the feeling of ‘Nation First’ in the heart of each and every citizen, we would not succeed in attaining freedom from the internal security threats.
(The author is a deputy advocate general of Uttarakhand in Supreme Court. Views expressed are personal)