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Monday, Sep 20, 2021
Outlook.com

Nuance Is All

Individual liberty, domestic politics, global terror: the UPA seeks a balanced response

Nuance Is All
Narendra Bisht
Nuance Is All
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Those images of a blazing Cherokee jeep being rammed into the main terminal of a Glasgow airport, and a badly charred man being dragged out will haunt the Indian government for some time to come. For, the arrest of Sabeel Ahmed—whose brother Kafeel, now battling for his life with 90 per cent burns, drove that jeep in the UK, and of their cousin, Mohammed Haneef, halfway across the world in Australia—has created a first-of-its-kind situation.

This first instance of Indian citizens being held on foreign soil on terror charges has left the UPA government with a unique problem: to protect its citizens' rights abroad while not seeming soft on terrorism. The Congress, the chief ruling party, is acutely aware that it is being watched closely by all citizens, Muslims or not. It's a crisis that will test both the government's diplomatic skills abroad and its political dexterity at home.

At the outset, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set the tone. Talking to a group of women journalists, he said he had told his UK counterpart, Gordon Brown,...
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