No words can truly express the anguish and sorrow at the grievous loss of innocent lives in the Air India Jumbo Jet crash. The suspicion of sabotage makes the tragedy all the more repugnant. It brings into focus the depth of sadistic perversion that can lead to such a bestial form of retaliation. Mind revolts at this satanic outrage. The grim reality of demented ruffians prowling around injects a general sense of insecurity in our lives. Joy of living is poisoned by the haunting shadow of uncanny fear of a blast blowing to pieces a group of merry pioneers here or a cruising aircraft there.

We must urgently address ourselves to this rapidly growing monstrosity with the seriousness it deserves. We must stretch beyond the hollow ritual of recording our impotent indignation and pain whenever such a tragedy occurs anywhere. The malady needs a scientific diagnosis rather than a formal expression of a passing concern. To straightaway relate these destructive activities to any just and organized struggle would not be correct. Movements for legitimate rights generally follow a highly disciplined and perfectly peaceful code. They tend to develop isolated off shoots sort of splinter elements that are driven to the course of violence when subjected to a prolonged and systematic onslaught of what can rightly be called “state gangsterism.” They sometimes degenerate to indiscriminate destruction of innocent lives under terribly repressive strain. The object helplessness in the face of a mightily and ruthless State power murders the inherent humanity in them and distorts their psychological responses. Blinded by their tearing passion for revenge, they grow insensate to the devastation their insane acts cause.

The intention here is not to condone their unpardonable acts but to identify the factors that generate such a psychology. To prevent recurrence of unfortunate tragedies of this appalling magnitude, it would not be enough to give deterrent punishment to the culprits. It is equally important that the free world must recognize and uphold the just and legitimate rights and aspirations of the peoples and communities who are being ruthlessly suppressed.

Millions are undergoing unending spells of nightmarish trauma. So long countries and governments practicing heinous crimes are not confronted with their black deeds and forced to respect human rights and civil liberties, the lives of innocent men, women and children will remain vulnerable to demented pseudo revolutionaries.

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 28, 1985