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December 18, 2001
2242 IST

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Don't act in haste: Opposition's advise to govt

The opposition on Tuesday cautioned the government against taking any 'hasty' action in retaliation to the terrorist strike on Parliament but said all parties are united behind the Centre to wipe out Pakistan-backed terrorism.

Participating in the discussion on the home minister's statement on the December 13 attack in the Lok Sabha, the opposition asked the government to drop its plans to bring in an anti-terrorism bill replacing the controversial POTO to project a united India 'in this hour of crisis'.

CPI-M veteran Somnath Chatterjee said the government should exhaust all possible options before taking recourse to war, bearing in mind that Pakistan too was a nuclear-weapon state.

"We are not against taking all proper action to destroy the scourge of terrorism. We are only advising caution," he said, adding India should shape world opinion by providing 'clinching evidence' of Pakistan's involvement to other countries.

Senior Congress leader Shivraj Patil wanted the government to first exhaust all diplomatic weapons.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav held the government's 'failure' responsible for the attack but said the opposition would be unitedly behind the government if it took any 'well-considered step'.

Intervening in the debate, Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah said India does not have war as its first option to wipe out terrorism but is determined to foil Pakistan's nefarious designs by 'any means' without fearing international isolation.

Meanwhile, the BJP adopted a tougher posture on POTO saying there should be no compromise on the passage of anti-terrorism bill in Parliament.

Party spokesman V K Malhotra told reporters in Delhi after the party's parliamentary party meeting that MPs were unanimous in favour of the passage of the bill as it was necessary in the wake of the December 13 attack.

To a question on Left Parties suggesting setting aside of contentious issues like the CAG report on defence purchases, including coffins for Kargil martyrs, and POTO in the current session, Malhotra said, "If the bill is not passed, the ordinance would be re-promulgated after the end of the current session of Parliament."

PTI

Complete Coverage: The Attack on Parliament

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