Protect them too

Sir,- The Editorial `Perilous signal' (Aug. 27) is a fair criticism of the move of the Central Government to extend relief to security personnel facing prosecution for alleged violations of human rights during operations against militants. However, if the perilous conditions under which they operate are taken into consideration, the criticism is unfair and unkind.

What security do we provide the security personnel and their families, who are exposed to attacks by militants at any time and any place. They are inadequately equipped and deployed to deal effectively with the scale of militancy prevailing in the area of operation. When they go out for duty, any person they meet or watching is a potential enemy. This means that the moment a security personnel goes out, he has the right to invoke the protection of the law relating to self-defence.

To get the protection of the law, the personnel will have to prove through witnesses in a court that the conditions which prevailed at the time of the operations were life- threatening. Which witness can express in words the atmosphere that prevailed during the operations? Even if such evidence is given, invariably after the lapse of much time, in the comfort and security of a court room, will any one appreciate the gravity of the situation as it existed at the time of the action?

No one wants blanket amnesty for security personnel. What is required is an evaluation of facts in the context in which they happened. Deliberate violations of law should be dealt with as in any other case.

K. John Mathai,

Kochi, Kerala