POTA has become everybody’s favourite four-letter word in the wake of the continuing terror attacks. The BJP would have us believe that tough terror laws are all we need to end the madness. The Congress seems to think that the minorities are all pathologically, if not congenitally, opposed to law and order.
But did POTA work when it was in force?
Union science and technology minister Kapil Sibal mounts a stout defence of the Congress-led UPA government’s relunctance to bring back POTA, arguing that the law by itself was no defence against terror when the BJP-led NDA was in charge:
1. Between 1999 – 2004, while the NDA was in power, total civilian casualties from terrorist acts were 4,405 whereas between 2004 – 2008 (till September 11, 2008), these were 1,623.
2. Security force personnel killed on account of terrorist acts during the same period of the NDA dispensation were 2,590; during the UPA dispensation (till September 11, 2008), the number is 1,235.
3. With reference to Jammu & Kashmir, the number of incidents of violence peaked with 4,500 incidents in 2001 and reduced to 1,000 in 2008. The number of civilians killed peaked at 1,000 in 2002 – 2003 and is less than 100 today.
Read the full article: State of insecurity
Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Should POTA be brought back?