Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: The ongoing war of terrorism against India is a continuation of the separatist mindset that created Pakistan and allowed religion to be misinterpreted and misused to construct the two-nation theory that led to the Partition, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani said here on Saturday. He was participating in a seminar on terrorism organised by an RSS organisation, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini.

Mr. Advani defended the Prevention of Terrorism Act(POTA)that was made part of law in September 2001 during the National Democratic Alliance regime, saying that since its repeal by the United Progressive Alliance government(UPA), terrorism had increased “five-fold,” claiming 625 lives. During the three years the law was in place 119 people were killed in terrorist-related violence, he added.

His charge was that the UPA leaders had been speaking in different voices on the need to strengthen the anti-terror law. India cannot be safe in the hands of a government that does not know its own mind, Mr. Advani said.

His commitment was to a “terror-free India” and one of the instruments that could help achieve this goal was a federal agency to deal with terrorist crime, an idea he as Union Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in the Vajpayee government tried to implement unsuccessfully. Chief Ministers had by and large opposed the idea on the ground that it would impinge on their exclusive jurisdiction over law and order.

Mr. Advani argued that a federal agency was necessary for evolving effective coordination in intelligence gathering, investigation and prosecution across states.