By Balbir Punj
26th January 2013 07:35 AM
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde seems to be batting for Pakistan if we go by his irresponsible statement at the Congress conclave at Jaipur about the RSS and the BJP running so-called terrorist training camps. That soon after he shot his bolt, he sought to shift the burden of his charge on to ‘reports in the media’, exposes how he did not even make sure of his facts before he made that statement.
Shinde has contradicted himself over and over within the short span of his statement. Minutes earlier he had told his partymen that “we have got an investigation report” about such “Hindu terror camps”. Either he has got such ‘investigation reports’ or he was speaking merely from ‘media reports’.
Can a country of India’s size afford to have a home minister who is so casual on such crucial matters? In fact Shinde shows himself as dangerously irresponsible to hold the high office he warms. Did he realise the implications of saying he has ‘investigation reports’ about the main opposition party in the country? Or is there method in his madness?
Shinde’s irresponsibility goes deeper. He has given Pakistan a perfect handle to roil this country with a charge of officially sponsoring and promoting terror. Pakistan’s position has always been that the terrorists in its country are ‘non-state actors’ and that neither the government nor the military is backing them; in fact they are as much concerned with terror problem within their country as others. After Shinde’s loose talk Islamabad would quote India’s home minister everywhere to showcase how it is India that should be blamed officially for the reign of terror, not Pakistan.
Pakistan has been accusing in international forum that it was India’s spy agency R&AW that was promoting terror in Balochistan, for instance. However, it had not produced any proof to back up its charge. Shinde has handed Pakistan that proof on a platter. Much more, India’s home minister has handed over to Pakistani terror outfits like LeT the very ammunition that they would grab to turn the table against this country. Terror masters like Hafiz Saeed, the chief of the LeT, have not failed to grab within hours of Shinde’s statement. Saeed and his followers are actually celebrating.
After the prime minister has seen what has been the consequence of Shinde’s statement, the minimum that Manmohan Singh owed to his own government and to the country is to ask the home minister to put in his papers. Reports say Shinde has retracted the statement. That is small recompense for the huge damage that he has caused. He may have hoped to damage the RSS and the BJP but he has instead damaged his office, embarrassed the government of which he is part and worst of all, he has destroyed the very credibility of the country in the international arena.
Governments abroad must be wondering what sort of an administration that is running India where the home minister knows who are running terror camps but does not take the next important step. Shinde has brought the entire country to ridicule and no wonder Hafiz Saeed is in high spirits since Sunday! We can depend upon Shinde’s counterpart in Islamabad, Rehman Malik shooting back asking India to get at the ‘Hindu terrorists’ that Indian home minister named before asking him (Malik) to arrest Hafiz Saeed and his ilk.
More than that, what has the Congress president and the prime minister to say when a senior colleague has dubbed the entire religious followers, the majority in the country, the Hindus, of spawning terror camps? It has been not only the official stand but that of all other parties too, including the BJP that no community should be identified with terror. Now Shinde has used not just ‘saffron terror’ but ‘Hindu terror’. He has slapped the majority community with the terror epithet.
The hesitance of the Congress to distance itself completely from what the home minister has said and the PM’s silence, could only happen because the entire ruling party has been treating the real terrorists with kid gloves. That kid glove treatment has been evident when all leaders of the Congress rushed to redeem the Batla House terrorists after the Delhi police located them and defused their conspiracy before it could take on demoniac dimension.
The Congress in Kerala has been championing the cause of the PDP chairman accused of inspiring several terror incidents, including burning transport vehicles, serial bombing and is currently in jail in Bangalore on charges of bombing of cricket stadium. In the Congress (and the CPI(M)) ruled Kerala, Islamic extremists are imposing their will, including chopping off limbs of people they accuse of not following their religious diktats.
In Congress-ruled Andhra Pradesh, what is currently happening with the MIM leadership openly calling for violence is only the end product of the Congress supporting that party with its trail into the hated Razakars of the Nizam’s time. What is even more shameful for the Union home minister and the UPA government is that in case-after-case, the prosecution is collapsing in courts and persons and groups accused of terror acts (not just conspiracy) are getting acquitted because the ruling party is more interested in playing vote-bank politics than actually nailing terror mongers.
What is true of terror outfits flourishing in Kerala is equally true of the situation in other parts of the country. Then in Assam, which is under the Congress regime, there is a long standing planned infiltration, pushing out non-Muslims and turning district-after-district into Muslim majority areas of which the recent riots are a warning. The Congress has had three home ministers in the last eight years of its rule at the Centre. What they have done is to multiply the agencies that keep tab on terror but there is not a single worthwhile terror case, except for the open and shut case of the sole 26/11 terrorist to be caught alive and sent to the gallows. The party is hesitating to execute even those terrorists who have received their final condemnation.
The latest version of the Congress home minister we saw in Jaipur with his calibrated attempt to divert public attention from the real terror groups even at the cost of playing into Pakistani hands, is in line with the communal policies the ‘secularists’ have followed in the name of secularism since 1920s when Gandhiji decided to support the Khilafat Movement.
Balbir Punj is a BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member