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Oppn, allies slam Shinde's 'disappointing' statement

Last updated on: February 22, 2013 18:02 IST

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday came under sharp attack from Opposition as well as ruling United Progressive Alliance allies Samajwadi Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which trashed his statement on Hyderabad blasts as "totally disappointing" and "devoid of any concrete and meaningful plan of action".

Shinde made a statement in the House on Thursday's blasts saying government will make all possible efforts to apprehend the perpetrators and masterminds.

The Opposition was, however, dissatisfied with the statement and accused the government of treating the issue of terror in a "very casual" manner.

Leading the attack, Bharatiya Janata Party leader M Venkaiah Naidu said, "Government's policy seems to be condolence for the dead and compensation for those who survived."

Naidu also said that being a member of the House, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have come to the Rajya Sabha and made a statement taking the issue seriously.

The Rajya Sabha earlier witnessed acrimonious scenes as Opposition members insisted on a debate before the home minister's statement on the issue.

After the home minister read out his statement amid noisy scenes, the House witnessed a verbal spat between Shinde and Naidu with the BJP leader telling the minister that had he been serious on the issue, he would have rushed to the spot immediately after the occurrence last night and come to Parliament in morning.

Shinde countered it saying that after monitoring the issue for the whole night, he went to the spot at 4 am drawing angry reactions from Naidu.

"You have not done any favour to us. You have done your duty. The incident had happened at 7 pm yesterday. You should have gone there at 8 pm and come back by the morning. That shows your seriousness," Naidu said, who later staged a walkout for a brief period.

Rejecting the home minister's statement that there was no specific information, the BJP leader asked, "What specific information do you want? Do you think people will give you house number and street number?"

Holding that the home minister's statement had nothing new, Naidu said most of what Shinde had said has already appeared in newspapers.

"Government is clueless...I appeal to the home minister please show some courage, take some strong action, you must exhibit resolve," Naidu urged Shinde assuring the Opposition's backing.

"Unfortunately due to vote bank politics, we are not taking strong steps...political will is lacking. Are we here to debate only?" he said ruing that such statements are made after each blast but incidents continue to happen.

Holding that the Hyderabad blasts were not an isolated incident, Naidu drew the government's attention to a "larger conspiracy to destabilise our nation".

Naidu said the blast was a "handiwork" of the neighbouring country which was funding such attacks.

He said militant organisations had made a statement about avenging the hanging of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab and the Delhi Police had said in a report on October 26, 2012 that "some of these people had conducted a recce in Hyderabad including at Dilsukhnagar" which is in public domain and even the home minister will not deny it.

He also said that organsiations like Lashkar-e-Tayiba organised a condolence meet in Pakistan for Afzal Guru in which people from this side too participated.

Naidu also rued that even External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was yet to comment on the condolence meet.

"Unfortunately there are some people from this side also who sympathise with perpetrators of such crime...Human rights are for humans and not for demons," he said.

SP leader Ramgopal Yadav said, "Shinde's statement is very ordinary and totally disappointing. It has no indication about the government's intention and how such incidents can be stopped." "Whenever any incident happens, it is said that the state was already alerted but their (Centre's) information is so vague that not to speak of states, even the Centre's own agencies cannot decipher the inputs," he said.

T Siva (DMK) also found Shinde's statement "unsatisfactory" saying it simply lists the incidents.

Devender Goud (Telugu Desam Party) also trashed Shinde's speech saying, "It does not show that the home minister has taken the matter in all seriousness."   

A similar view was echoed by D Raja (Communist Party of India) who said the home minister's speech "could have been more convincing" and asked the government to initiate action for curbing the menace of left-wing terrorism which has taken roots in the recent past.

Both of them demanded more ex-gratia to the victims of the twin blasts and requested government to bear all medical expenses.

Derek O'Brien (Trinamool Congress) dubbed Shinde's statement as "copy-paste", resembling the one made after the 2007 blasts.

Birendra Prasad Baishya (Asom Gana Parishad) suggested Indo-Bangladesh border should be sealed as infiltrators from the other side took Assam as a transit point for carrying out "unlawful" activities.

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati said terrorism should be curbed by all means and all political parties cutting across their ideology should rise together to make it happen.

She stressed on the need for greater co-ordination between intelligence agencies of the states and the Centre and asked the government to "go deep into the root" of the problem and take appropriate action to weed out terrorism and their base.

Md Ali Khan (Cong), whose residence is just one and a half km from the place of occurrence, said the perpetrators should not be spared.

D P Tripathi (Nationalist Congress Party) demanded that the House should discuss the issue of terrorism and make laws more stringent.

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