| Delegates and participants at the debate in Patna on Monday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
For a change, paramilitary force personnel were seen fighting in a debate and not on the warfield.
The personnel had enough ammunition to drive home their point at the East Zone Inter CPOs Debate Competition, 2012, organised for 33 personnel from Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Sikkim, among other states.
Organised at the Bihar Veterinary College by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Frontiers, Patna, the topic of the debate was “Protection of human rights is a hindrance to paramilitary forces in combating terrorism”.
Speaking against the motion, Rishikesh Sharma, an inspector with the Border Security Force, said: “We cannot put an end to terrorism by killing terrorists. If we could put an end to terrorism by killing terrorists, then Afghanistan would have been free of terrorism a long time ago.”
Sharma added that the paramilitary forces often become so offensive during their operations that they hardly take into account that many innocent people die during their operation against terrorists.
Vijay Shankar, a sub-inspector with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), spoke for the motion.
“Human rights was not formed to protect terrorists. Terrorists break the law and they don’t care about people’s lives. In a terrorist attack, many innocent people lose their lives. In such attacks many personnel die too. Then why protect terrorists under human rights? Lives of personnel are expensive. When an armyman dies, it’s an irreparable loss to his family and the country. Terrorists should not be spared under the garb of human rights.”
Also speaking for the motion Deepak Sawalakhla, an assistant commandant with the Central Industrial Security Force, said: “Human rights today have become the armour for terrorists. The glaring example is the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai. Common people have forgotten Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare but everybody remembers Kasab, the lone terrorist nabbed by the police during the Mumbai carnage.”
He added: “We lost our brave soldiers in the attack but we have not been able to do any harm to the terrorist. It is all because of human rights. The force loses their confidence when terrorists are saved by human rights.”
In a counter-attack, a constable with the CRPF, Dharmendra Singh, said: “The concept of human rights is old and trusted one. The force is hardly following the concept. Many a times, paramilitary forces kill innocent people suspecting them to be terrorists. In such cases, human rights can be a great tool in saving innocent lives and their families.”
The debate was part of a programme that deals with sensitisation about human rights among paramilitary forces. The participants spoke both in Hindi and English.