ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Davinder Singh’s Arrest

A Tale of Opacity and Impunity

Vappala Balachandran ( is a former special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. He was a member of the two-man High Level Committee appointed by the Government of Maharashtra to enquire into the police handling of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.


A common feature in all insurgency- affected areas like Kashmir, or Maoist-affected regions, or in Israeli-occupied Palestine territories, is the heightened daily duress suffered by the general public, who are in no way connected with violence. It becomes worse for those who come under the police radar for being linked, even remotely, with insurgents either by living in the same locality or through blood lineage, who are then coerced to work for security forces to collect information at great risk to themselves.

“Smarter” security officials go a step further by pushing some of them to join militant ranks by way of “penetration operations” to gather intelligence. In due course, some of them transform themselves into hardcore terrorists, eventually seeking vengeance against the security forces, which is called “blowback” in intelligence terminology. Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, says that the term “blowback” was first used by the Central Intelligence Agency in its 1954 operation to overthrow the Mohammad Mosaddegh government in Iran, referring to the “unintended consequences” of intelligence operations (Johnson 2001).

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Updated On : 9th Mar, 2020
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