Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pakistani Terror boat Controversy: A Matter of Concern for Fishermen on Either Sides of Border

Porbander: An aerial view of the fishing boat carrying explosives before being intercepted by Indian Coast Guard approximately 365 km off Porbander in Gujarat, on Wednesday. The boat eventually drowned after being set on fire by crew members. PTI Photo

The alleged Pakistani Terror boat incident brought forward the controversy relating to India’s defence mechanism. The issue was brought to the national headlines when the Indian government came up with a press release about the incident on January 1, 2015.

As a reaction, Pakistan has also seized two Indian fishing boats as doubts intensifies over India’s terrorist claim. There is no clarity if the boat which was fired by Indian Coast Guards carried any heavy explosives as the images do not really go well with the theory propagated in the media. Even almost a week after, the controversy is making headlines. The Defence Minister has come forward and has said that he suspects the boat had terror links and all the circumstantial evidence point towards it. Islamabad has denied any terror plot theory.

Praveen Swami, senior Journalist, in his article published in The Indian Express shares a detailed analysis on why the boat which has become the reason for celebration for many in India, may essentially be a fishing boat. But sadly there has been a huge protest against him and ultra-nationalist supporters have attacked him online, as well as offline.

The entire issue seems a bit tricky, and an issue which should have been confidential for various security reasons, has become a matter for household discussion in India. There was no need for the Indian Government to come up with a press release around the incident, with claims which could be very well challenged- and have been challenged now, making India look ill prepared in the world’s eye.

Latest developments show that the Defence Minister has ordered for a full internal review of wireless intercepts, which should have ideally been done before the press release given out by the government.

The debate around ‘smuggler or the terrorist’ holds no value as there is no clarity from any particular source. The governments on both the sides of the border has not been able to come up with concrete evidences to support their stand. The theory around smuggling, which is hardly considered a crime by the people in the region, has much evidences to support.

The controversy does not seem to end in near future. But the entire episode has become a matter of concern for the fishermen in the region, irrespective of their nationality.

This article was first published in LokMarg on January 7, 2015

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