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Govt has failed to check terrorism: BJP
November 29, 2006 19:16 IST
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party mounted a scathing attack on the government on Wednesday for its 'failure' to check terrorism in the country.
Leader of the opposition, L K Advani asked the government to always raise the issue of dismantling of terror infrastructure in Pakistan while talking to their leaders.
Criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his statement in Havana that Pakistan was also a victim of terrorism, Advani sought a clarification from Dr Singh on the matter, as he had 'given a certificate' to Pakistan which even President Pervez Musharraf would not have expected.
Moving an adjournment motion on the 'failure' of the government to maintain security and deal with the 'alarming growth' of terrorist menace in the country, he asked how could political parties 'defend terrorists when they get caught'. He referred to Afzal, the Parliament attack convict and Madani, who is accused of Coimbatore bomb blast.
"That is why it sends a wrong signal that we are concerned more with votes than fighting terrorism," he said.
When Advani quoted speeches of the prime minister and E S L Narasimhan, director, Intelligence Bureau at the recent DGP and IGP conference, Home Minister Shivraj Patil intervened to say that he was 'quoting selectively' from the DIB's speech and the top police officer was not present to defend himself.
"I don't expect this from a former home minister to spell out what was secret," Patil said but Advani responded saying all this had appeared in the media.
The minister said Advani had himself allowed the media to cover this conference when he held office in the Home Ministry.
Intervening in the debate, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi said Advani's demand for a strong anti- terrorist law did not hold ground as 'POTA, brought in by the National Democratic Alliance government, had failed to stop terror attacks on Akshardham or Raghunath temple during their rule'.
In his speech, Advani said more damage was done by terrorism to India than all the wars it fought with Pakistan and China.
While over 70,000 people, including 10,000 security personnel, were killed by terrorists in the past 20-25 years, India spent Rs 730 crore annually to fight terror compared with Pakistan's Rs 24 crore to promote it, he claimed.
Maintaining that Pakistan had made the 'low cost war' of terrorism a part of its policy, he asked the government to 'always relate the dismantling of terror infrastructure on Pakistani soil' with talks with their leaders.
Even the approach to Bangladesh 'should be cautious', as there were terrorist outfits operating from that country 'where maybe the ISI was also taking part', Advani said.
"We should point this out when we are talking to Pakistan or Bangladesh," he said.
Observing that the prevailing laws were insufficient to deal with terrorism, the senior BJP leader made a pitch for a strong anti-terror law.
He claimed that the accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts cases 'would have gone scot-free had TADA not been there'.
He said complaints of misuse of a law does not mean it should be repealed.
Seeking measures to check illegal infiltration, Advani wanted the creation of a National Register of Citizens and steps to make it obligatory for every citizen to have a citizen card.
He wanted to know the progress made in this regard.
Opposing the adjournment motion, Dasmunsi said, "We had to plead and cry to get an adjournment notice accepted when NDA was in power. But a new trend has now been brought about by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to allow discussion on any issue."
He said he was 'utterly disappointed' listening to Advani's speech.
"Every time when Advaniji stands to speak, I think he faces a crisis of confidence in himself. Probably, it could be (a result of) his party's internal affairs," he added.
The remark provoked protests from BJP benches.
Dasmunsi said the UPA goverment has taken more steps than the previous NDA regime to check terrorism and other security related problems.
Recalling the Kargil Review Committee report, he said the then NDA government did not even set up a proper inquiry commission to investigate the lapses.
"The problems we are facing did not arise suddenly, these are the legacy of the NDA," he said.
Accusing the BJP of running a 'slanderous campaign', he said it was 'polarising society'.
He sought to know why the BJP failed to stop terrorism when it was in power despite having a special law like POTA.
The aim of POTA was to target a specific community, he said, adding the UPA believed in taking along all communities together to tackle the menace of terrorism.
He also objected to BJP's demand to immediately hang Parliament attack convict Mohd Afzal and said it was the job of the judiciary and not the legislature.
Moreover, he said, every citizen had the right to seek mercy from the President. Taking part in the debate, Baju Ban Riyan (CPM), Mohan Singh (SP), Devendra Prasad Yadav (RJD) and A Krishnaswamy (DMK) opposed the adjournment motion.