With my recent travel and subsequent computer hassles, there's a large backlog of things I want to write about. Not that I think I will get to them all, but I'm conscious of the backlog, is all.
One of those things is the recent uproar about a Canadian visa. As I'm sure I don't need to tell you, that country refused a visa to a once-BSF member because some Canadian official noted that he and/or the BSF has a record of violence.
I don't at all understand the uproar. After all, is there an Indian who doesn't believe that our security personnel indulge in excesses of violence? From Kashmir to the Northeast to everywhere we've seen massacres of innocent Indians -- in all those places, Indian police and paramilitary and army people are accused of serious crimes and brutality. I know of enough cases of police brutality -- in Bombay, in Satara, in West Bengal, in Tamil Nadu. In Manipur a few years ago, a whole lot of women actually marched naked in public to protest their treatment by Indian security forces. What would drive women to make such a protest? And then there are the regular times when we hear of men in one or the other uniform misbehaving in trains, pushing people around and often enough off the train.
Violence? I mean, be honest: would you be sanguine about your wife or sister or daughter visiting an Indian police station on her own?
This is not to say there are no men in Indian uniform who are different. No, there are plenty, and I know plenty of them, and I've even seen them in action. Exemplary in their conduct, they'd be a credit to their uniform anywhere in the world.
And yet that's just the point. The ones who resort to violence tarnish by association even the ones who try to uphold standards of professional and personal conduct. Which is one more reason the former must be identified and stopped. That we don't do that enough is one more sign justice means so little that, for example, we are yet to punish the horrific killings of November 1984.
Thing is, we know all this. If any of us pointed it out, nobody would claim some great sullying of national honour. Yet when a Canadian points it out, it is suddenly an insult to us all, besides being a slur on the fair name of the BSF. Why? What's more, the reactions to all this invariably point to crimes by Canadian forces, or other Western forces. Why? Of what possible relevance is that?
Delivering justice must mean, first of all, the courage to identify those who commit crimes. Let's find that courage, regardless of what Canada does about its visas.