The Pioneer November 30, 2008 Coffee Break
‘Shocked’ PM forgets his terrible record
The Congress believes, yes it really does, that its leaders alone have the right to ‘politicise’ national security while others should treat it as a ‘national issue’ above partisan politics. So, the Congress has been prompt in berating the BJP for suggesting that the pusillanimous UPA Government is to blame for the repeated terrorist strikes and the attendant death, destruction and devastation across the country. The 60-hour siege of Mumbai by fidayeen is the latest instance of India suffering yet another grievous blow at the hands of jihadis for whom slaughtering innocent people is the highest tribute to their faith. But after reprimanding the BJP for criticising the Government and thus ‘politicising’ terrorism, the Congress has had no compunctions about ‘politicising’ the grief and misery inflicted by mass murderers. On Saturday, the Congress issued a full-page advertisement in its favourite newspaper, listing the various terrorist strikes during the NDA years, casually mentioning the fidayeen attacks in Mumbai, saluting the security personnel killed in these incidents, and then preachily declaring that terrorism is a “national issue, not a political game”. The purpose was to influence people in Delhi hours before they stepped out of their homes to cast their votes in Saturday’s Assembly election. The advertisement raises two issues, both related to political morality and ethics, which are alien to the Congress and its amoral and unethical leaders. First, according to this advertisement, there have been no terrorist attacks in India between the audacious strike on the Red Fort on December 22, 2000, and the November 26, 2008 assault on Mumbai. This, as every Indian knows, is a blatant lie. I have before me a list of terrorist attacks ever since the present impotent regime headed by an effete Prime Minister took charge of this country’s affairs after a scrambled election result helped the Congress to regain power at the Centre in the summer of 2004. The first attack was on August 16, 2004. The latest was on November 26, 2008. In between we have had terrorists visiting Delhi twice, raiding the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, attacking Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, blowing up commuter trains in Mumbai, killing people at an amphitheatre in Hyderabad, blowing up bogies of the Samjhauta Express, and setting off bombs in Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Assam. According to the propagandists of the Congress, none of this has happened!The second issue raised by Saturday’s advertisement is about the Congress saluting the security personnel who have laid down their lives while fighting terrorists and protecting the nation. If any value is to be attached to the advertisement, we must conclude that the Congress is reluctant to salute Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of Delhi Police who, like Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare, was shot dead by terrorists. This is because the Congress wanted to send out, ever so slyly, a message to Muslim voters in Jamia Nagar for whom MC Sharma is not a hero but a villain because he dared raid a terrorist hideout in their locality. We must also presume, since there is no evidence to the contrary, that the advertisement was endorsed, if not cleared, by the Prime Minister. This speaks volumes about the integrity quotient of a man whose honesty, as claimed by his admirers, admittedly a rapidly disappearing exotic breed, is beyond reproach. Perhaps the Prime Minister needs to be reminded that only cowards take recourse to lies to cover up their failures.Meanwhile, we had the occasion to hear the Prime Minister address a shaken nation 24 hours after the siege of Mumbai began. In his by now familiar laboured style, he expressed his “shock” at “the dastardly terror attacks. “I strongly condemn these acts of senseless violence,” he added. So what’s new? “I share the shock and distress of all those affected by these blasts,” the Prime Minister said on October 29, 2005, after the bombings in Delhi on Dhanteras. He was “shocked” on March 7, 2006, after the Sankat Mochan temple bombing. On July 12, 2006, he did not quite say that he was ‘shocked’ by the Mumbai commuter train bombings, but he did say, “No one can make India kneel” and promised that his “Government will do whatever is required” to deal with terrorism. On February 19, 2007, the Prime Minister was more than ‘shocked’ by the Samjhauta Express bombings — he was “anguished” and promised the “culprits will be caught”. On hearing about the serial bombings in Jaipur on May 13, 2008, the Prime Minister was again “shocked” and condemned “this dastardly attack”. On July 28, 2008, after visiting Ahmedabad following the serial bombings, he took care to mention that he accompanied Ms Sonia Gandhi before expressing “solidarity with the people of Gujarat”. On September 13, 2008, he “condemned the serial blasts in Delhi”; a month-and-a-half later, on October 30, 2008, he “strongly condemned” the Assam bombings. The Prime Minister now mocks at the victims of terrorism and seeks to fool the people of this country by declaring, “We are not prepared to countenance a situation in which the safety and security of our citizens can be violated with impunity by terrorists... We will take the strongest possible measures to ensure that there is no repetition of such terrorist attacks.” Having countenanced repeated terrorist attacks, which the Congress now brazenly pretends never took place, and silently witnessed the safety and security of our citizens being violated with impunity by terrorists, the Prime Minister now expects the people to believe that he shall join battle with the merchants of death. To prove that he means business, he had his Government, such as it is, to put out the bogus claim that he had summoned the Director-General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and the Pakistani Government had meekly conceded his demand. In an interview to Karan Thapar for his television show, Devil’s Advocate, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has rubbished this claim. According to Mr Zardari, the Prime Minister, in a telephonic talk with him on Friday, had requested for sending a ‘director’ — a mid-level bureaucrat in the official hierarchy. “There was a miscommunication... We had announced that a director will come from my side... That is what was requested by the Prime Minister and that is what we agreed,” Mr Zardari said.That the Prime Minister, after all his bluster, should settle for talks with a director of the Pakistan Government so as to “take the strongest possible measures to ensure that there is no repetition of such terrorist acts” is a measure of his true intention.