The Opposition on Wednesday targeted the government over its “ambivalent” counter-terrorism policy. It alleged that while the Union Home Minister conceded that Pakistan’s ISI has designs to destablise India, the External Affairs Ministry was engaged in appeasing Islamabad.
“There seems to be a divergence in the approach of the home minister and external affairs minister towards Pakistan,” BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged while participating in a short-duration discussion on internal security in the Rajya Sabha.
Recalling the slow progress of the 26/11 trial in Pakistan and the failure of its authorities to act on the several dossiers submitted by India demanding action against perpetrators of the Mumbai blasts, Prasad underlined that the government needed to recognise that its policies on Pakistan and counter-terrorism cannot be segregated. “They have to go hand in hand,” he said.
Making a case for internationalizing the fight against Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism, the BJP leader asked if the government planned to organize the Indian victims of the 26/11 attacks to join as petitioners in the case filed on behalf of the Rabbi killed at Nariman House. The case, which is under trial in the US courts, has named ISI as a defendant.
Prasad accused the government of failing to send out a stern message against terrorists by repealing of Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota) fearing abuse. He also faulted the government of putting crucial proposals on counter-terror, including the creation of National Counter-Terrorism Centre and Natgrid, in a limbo owing to a turf war between various security agencies.
“It’s been almost three years since the Mumbai attacks but little progress has been made on these proposals…. is the security of the country more important or the ego battles of various security agencies,” he asked.
Taking exception to efforts by some Congress leaders to score political brownie points by linking terror to right-wing groups, Prasad cautioned politicians against identifying terrorism with a particular religion. He also underlined that the BJP and RSS opposed terrorism in all its forms and had already called for action against terrorists irrespective of their religion.
Prasad also took exception to the delay in hanging of Parliament attack convict, Mohammad Afzal, and called for fast-tracking his mercy petition. He termed as “irresponsible” the recent observation by Union Home minister P Chidambaram that the BJP’s campaign against him on his alleged role in the 2G scam was linked to the progress of the probe into case of rightwing terror.
Prasad said the lack of any intelligence on Mumbai blasts was indeed an intelligence failure. “Is the Intelligence Bureau limiting itself to political surveillance,” he asked in reference to the recent controversy over bugging of the finance minister’s office.
Earlier, Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi too alleged that the government response to terror had become weak. “The government must find the root cause of terrorism and where these terrorists are coming from,” he said and called for crackdown on all terrorist camps.
Joshi also faulted the government for failing to bring underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim, Mohammed Dossa and Tiger Memon to justice. “The government is not very serious about bringing them back (from their hideouts abroad),” he alleged. The debate will continue on Thursday. Chidambaram is due to reply to the discussion at 5 pm. Economic Times