An UPA ally, NCP, on Thursday joined the opposition in charging the Government with adopting a “soft approach” towards terrorism.
Participating in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on growing incidents of terrorism in the country, Yogendra P. Trivedi (NCP) said, “We are probably too soft in handling terrorism. Killers and terrorists should not feel India is too soft on them.”
There have been several terrorist attacks in the country in the last decade, he said, adding “This has become something which is common and people have become resilient.”
Mr. Trivedi said it is the primary duty of the state to protect its citizens. Giving an example of a ship lying abandoned on the Versova coast, he wondered “how a ship could come all the way to Versova coast without anyone knowing about it.”
Favouring more investigative powers to the police, the NCP leader strongly advocated that mercy petitions should not be kept pending for long.
Mr. Trivedi’s comments assume importance in the wake of Maharashtara Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan stating after recent Mumbai blasts that the State Home Minister should have been from the Congress party.
Participating in the debate, senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi charged the Government with promoting “terrorist-friendly” policies.
He charged the Congress of “categorising terrorism in the name of religion”, saying Muslims after being defamed in the name of terrorism were “forced” to vote for it.
RSS, Hindu-outfits behind some blasts: Paswan
“Don’t hold only minorities responsible for all terrorist attacks,” Mr. Paswan said pointing out that CBI reports say Abhinav Bharat was responsible for 2008 Malegaon attack and the RSS for the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad.
BJP members strongly objected to LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan’s allegations that RSS, Bajrang Dal and similar forces were behind a number of terrorist attacks in the country including Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and other blasts.
Mr. Paswan, however, claimed that his remarks were based on CBI reports and he was ready to apologise if proved wrong.
As soon as took the name of an RSS leader, the BJP took strong objection and forced Deputy Chairman K. Rahaman Khan, who was in the Chair, to expunge the name.
Rajniti Prasad (RJD) said 16 terrorist incidents were reported from Mumbai alone in the last 18 years. He too faced BJP protest when he alleged minority hands in such attacks.
Some BJP members said that Pakistan and not minorities should be blamed for such incidents.
Recollecting his harrowing experience during 26/11 Mumbai attack, nominated member Ashok S Ganguly said he was in Taj Hotel, which was one of the targets and found that coordination among security forces was lacking.
Apart from terror attacks, another area of concern is cyber attacks, he said pointing out, “China is leading cyber attack on India...I am concerned of China’s designs on India.”
Mr. Ganguly said apart from coordinated efforts to contain these, India needed up gradation of technology and global help.
NIA, Intelligence failure
M.V. Mysura Reddy (TDP) took a dig at National Investigation Agency (NIA) and said Home Minister P. Chidambaram as quoted by WikiLeaks had confided in Federal Bureau of Investigation that he was unaware of its constitutionality.
“Why was such a legislation brought if it was weak and lacked constitutionality,” he questioned.
Shivanand Tiwari (JD(U)) stressed the need for setting up of separate intelligence gathering cells by States.
Saif-ud-in Soz (Congress) demanded a White Paper on Indian Mujahideen.
Moinul Hassan (CPI(M)) lamented that the Mumbai attacks came in the wake of intelligence failure, with the government having “no idea, no information, no report” about it.
He charged the government with being a bit complacent in handling terrorism as no adequate measures were in place to tackle it even though many measures were announced to curb such incidents in the aftermath of 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Tiruchi Siva (DMK) sought stringent action against the perpetrators of terrorism to dispel the feeling that India is not able to control terrorist attacks.
He said communication failure in Mumbai during the recent blasts should be looked into seriously and the Centre should involve state governments for formulating a proper policy to contain terrorism.
Mahendra Mohan (SP) called for setting up fast-track courts for speedy trial of those involved in terrorist activities and said mercy petitions should not be kept pending for long.
He also charged the Government that there is no coordination among various intelligence agencies and demanded early formation of National Counter Terrorism Centre.