Single act, huge impact on mindset

Mr Manohar Parrikarji, forgive my audacity to address this letter to you personally. Though this missive should be addressed to the Prime Minister or the Home Minister, I am writing to you since we have met under various circumstances – some happy moments, others not so happy moments when we conversed over a cup of coffee when you came to Cabo Raj to meet the Governor on the eve of, and after, your Government was toppled in Goa – and I am yet to have the privilege and good fortune of personally meeting the PM or the HM.
Though I might not, and may not, share your political ideologies I appreciate your political acumen and also your dedication to the service of the people. I remember reports of your personally supervising the road black-toppings and other works in the middle of the night on the eve of the first International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2004), and we were all pleasantly shocked when you yourself, as the Chief Minister, ushered the Governor and his entourage to our seats at the Kala Akademi, Miramar at the inaugural function of the Film Festival. I am also given to understand that you, as the Chief Minister and holding the portfolio of Finance, used to prepare your own Budget Speeches! Your resounding victory in the last general elections in Goa came as no surprise to us who know you and your expertise in rousing the public on various issues and I do admit that the infighting within the Congress party, to which yours truly belonged to till a few years back, contributed to your victory,considering the close rapport you enjoy with the powers-that-be in New Delhi and Nagpur, your elevation to the position of Union Defence Minister, too, was not much of a surprise and we were all confident that you would perform very well in your duties to the nation, as you have proved yourself in the last one year or so.
Contrary to what most Goans do, you have been skipping your siesta and you have shown no sign of having the Goan culture of Susegad. Of course, you could not afford to now that you are one of the most important persons in the country.Many parts of Baga and Calangute beaches would be at the heights of rave parties in the wee hours of the morning, we understand you were closely monitoring the surgical operations in Myanmar by the Indian Army against insurgent groups earlier this week. The meticulous planning and strategy adopted by the Indian Army, and the professionalism with which they went about to bust up terror camps in another nation's territory is indeed, most laudable. We often wondered why India is not acting and is always seen to be reacting to threats from terrorists from across the border when US Navy SEALS could so brazenly enter into the heartland of Pakistan to capture and eliminate dreaded terrorist Osama Bin Laden. The Myanmar episode has shown the world that India has the capability and the guts to strike at terror camps wherever they may be located.
Congratulations and kudos to the commandos who successfully carried out the assaults. The GOC of 3 Corps Lt Gen Rawat must be bloating with pride by now, and he rightly deserves all the accolades for the specific intelligence inputs and the meticulous planning for the operations. We expect that the visit to Bangladesh by NSA Mr Duval the other day would also result in some pro-active and pre-emptive operations in that country in the near future.
The most surprising outcome of the Myanmar operations has been the wave of alarm created in the hearts and minds of Pakistan. Several Pakistani patriots and analysts went ballistic on TV channels warning India of similar strikes in Pakistan saying it has nuclear capabilities to reach Gujarat, Delhi and so on and so forth. Now, this is a clear confession of Pakistan to India's many allegations of the country harbouring terrorist cells and modules. If rogue elements had the courage to aid and hide dreaded terrorists like bin Laden, can we have any doubt that those same elements are harbouring and abetting terrorists to cross over to India and cause mayhem? In the aftermath of killing of several hundreds of school children in Pakistan, what has it done to show us that it is busting or has decided to take action against terrorists except to hang a few already on the death row? If Pakistan does not have terror camps inside its territory specifically to unleash them at appropriate moments to cross over to India, why should it worry about the operations in Myanmar?
I quite agree with you, Mr Defence Minister, that the single act has caused a huge impact on the mindset of neighbouring countries.
I am sure you will agree with me when I say the mindset of Goans is very different from other Indians due to many reasons. I do not know exactly what happened during the Portuguese rule before Liberation in December 1961 because the younger generation of Goa consider themselves as Goans, Indians and some even possess Portuguese passports thereby happily zipping back and forth throughout the entire European Union. However, the older generation misses Portuguese rule and say that corruption was unheard of during pre-Liberation era and that their way of life was much better than what it is today. Anyway, reading a few materials about the Inquisition years that reached even Goa, I can only imagine what happened to thousands and can only compare what is happening today in various part of our great nation. Imagine, Mr Parrikarji, you take a walk in the evening on Miramar beach for the cool and refreshing breeze, and, all of a sudden, some Portuguese military/ policeman looks at you and says he does not like the shape of your nose, or the colour of your dress, or the strides you are taking on the beach, promptly arrest you, take you to Fort Aquada and try to make mince-meat of you forcing you to confess that you are vehemently against the Church and the Vatican. Through broken teeth, swollen lips, bloated eyes and bleeding nose, you try to identify yourself as an entrepreneur, a student leader innocent of all the charges only to be beaten up black and blue till you lose consciousness.
Mercifully, the next morning, after you are forced to sign on a blank sheet of paper, or on a form saying you have been very well treated while at the custody of the authorities, you are taken to the leaders of the nearest Communidade and the police/ military personnel admit that it was a case of mistaken identity. I am sure there were several thousands of Goans in the 1950s who have had enough of Portuguese rule and wanted to be part of India, but because of Pundit Nehru's Non-interference, non-aggression and non-violent policy, Goa remained under the tight grips of Lisbon with its Governor General threatening to flatten the whole of Panaji, or Panjim if you please. Those unfortunate Goans who have felt the brutalities of Portuguese authorities felt the helplessness, the anger, the angst, the rage, the ire and the trauma that many Indians go through at the hands of our very own security forces themselves!
On June 7 last, five Naga youths who happen to be young entrepreneurs and student leaders, were picked up in the heart of Kohima town in the evening for no rhyme or reason, made to lie on the street and then beaten with gun butts, boots and what have you. They were taken to the Assam Rifles Camp and tortured the whole night. Next morning, they were taken to the nearest police station and admitting that it was a case of mistaken identity, the security forces apologized and fled from the scene. You may like to see some pictures of the brutality perpetrated on these innocents from Facebook.
This single atrocity earlier this week has had a humongous and negative impact on the mindset of right thinking citizens of the State.
Mr Parrikarji, I am sure you will never tolerate such atrocity taking place in Panjim, and now that you are a Union Minister, or anywhere else in the country. Just as your fore fathers must have felt angry with Pundit Nehru's delay in liberating Goa, we Northeasterners and Jammu-Kashmiris feel the same towards the draconian and out-dated law called the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 which continues to be enforced in select parts of the country.
You would have been appalled if such an incident took place in Goa, a place called by Mr Shyam Senegal as "an oasis of peace and tolerance". And those of us in AFSPA-affected areas who swear our allegiance to the Constitution of India and the Tri-colour, are appalled, nay, dumb-struck that such atrocities are taking place at this time and day of modernity. If the 3 Corps at Rangapahar has not identified who is an insurgent and who is innocent in the last nearly two decades of ceasefire, the GOC should admit publicly that his officers have been complacent and have been neglecting their duties all these years.
My submission, Mr Parrikarji, is that you use your good office to ask your colleague Mr Home Minister, to direct the responsible authorities in Nagaland, not to be satisfied with a mere apology, but to take care of the medical and psychological treatment of the five victims and also compensate them adequately so that they can begin to consider themselves as proud and equal citizens of India once again, with a solemn assurance to the public that such unfortunate incidents will never recur.
Thank you and Jai Hind!
(By  Sebastian Zumvu )
The views reflected in this piece are that of the author and need not necessarily be that of TNT-The Northeast Today