Upping the ante against the government on the Mumbai serial blast case, BJP on Friday said divisions within Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet and misuse of the intelligence agencies for settling political scores have led to failure in combating terror.
The opposition targeted Dr. Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram, accusing them of speaking in different voices on the serial blasts that claimed 18 lives.
“Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that the government will do everything in its power to prevent such attacks in future. On what basis is the Prime Minister making such claims when his Home Minister frankly conceded that all cities in India are vulnerable to attack. Are they on the same page?” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad asked.
He expressed unhappiness over the claim made by both Dr. Singh and Mr. Chidambaram that there was no intelligence input.
“They both stated that there was no prior intelligence alerts…. the country is certainly entitled to know why there was no intelligence alert,” Mr. Prasad said.
The opposition charged that other than not taking action on promises made after 26/11 like establishment of a National Intelligence Grid and National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the government was also misusing the intelligence agencies which have fine professionals.
“There is no intelligence alert as IB and other agencies off late are being used more under political pressure in non-security related political objectives like targeting non-UPA state governments and surveillance of even senior ministers,” Mr. Prasad said.
He was referring to the recent controversy where it was alleged that the Home Ministry could be involved in spying on the Finance Minister by bugging his office.
Mr. Prasad alleged that when even a minor incident takes place in a non-UPA ruled state, the union Home Ministry “very quickly” claims that prior intelligence input was given.
“But in a terrorist attack concerning the financial capital of India, Mumbai, it is being stated that there was no intelligence alert. Should we suspect that there is an attempt to save the Congress-led government of Maharashtra?” he said.
The opposition further charged that government had not fulfilled most of the announcements made after 26/11 about upgradation of the anti-terror infrastructure.
“What happened to the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). Is the idea as good as abandoned? What happened to the proposal of National Intelligence Grid to collect and co-relate intelligence from diverse agencies? All available indications suggest that they are just limping and there are a lot of turf wars,” Mr. Prasad said.
The opposition wondered why Mr. Chidambaram was still “secure in his chair” as Home Minister.
The BJP insisted that the government had failed to solve any of the terrorist attack cases of the recent past.
“The government has not been able to unearth the conspiracy, apprehend terrorists and solve all dimensions behind the very recent German Bakery Blast in Pune, twin blasts near Bangalore Cricket Stadium, shootout near Jama Masjid, Delhi, blast at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi and the blast outside Delhi High Court,” Mr. Prasad said.
He maintained that in the wake of these results, the claim of the Prime Minister that any terrorist attack in future will be prevented appears “hollow“.
“How many modules of the Indian Mujahidin and SIMI, along with their patrons, have been destroyed in the last four years? Mr Prime Minister, is terrorism a law and order problem simpliciter or an attack on India itself?” Mr. Prasad said.
BJP also demanded that a POTA-like law be passed to fight terror. Hindu