Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
Feb 20, 2019, 12.59 PM
Senior Minister in the Punjab Congress Government Navjot Singh Sidhu has equalised Pak sponsored terrorism and the latest terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir with the release of Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and Maulana Masood Azhar, all implicated in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in exchange for passengers travelling by Indian Airlines IC-814 flight in 1999.
There was pandemonium in the Punjab Assembly and Sidhu was targetted by the Akali members for his much-condemned statement after the dastardly terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama. Sidhu has come under attack over his remark - "For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation; can you blame an individual?"
Without naming the then NDA Government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he even went on to ask "Who had set them (those wanted for the Mumbai terrorist attack) free in Kandahar in 1999. Asserting that his fight is against them, Sidhu also said: "Fight these terrorists and those who provide them shelter. Write to their protectors asking for their extradition."
Sidhu is not naive. In fact, he has crossed all limits as he has made a diabolic attempt to politicise the issue by pointing a finger at the previous Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA Government and tried to spread the message that the release of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar was the cause behind 1700 violent incidents.
At a time, when the entire nation is supposed to be in sync with the government to take the enemy head-on, Sidhu is playing politics. There could not be a softer stand at this juncture than turning a blind eye to the low-intensity war being waged against India by Pakistan and asking the Indian government to write to Pakistan for the extradition of those exporting terror.
While the Congress party bosses are silent regarding Sidhu, we also have West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is continuously at loggerheads with the Centre. Even at this critical juncture, when the nation is supposed to be united in its fight against terror outfits operating from Pakistan, she has thrown up a poser asking "Why did the Centre not do anything to stop Pakistanis from carrying out such attacks all these years. Only when an election is knocking at the door, you think of starting a shadow war?"
It is most unfortunate that the West Bengal Chief Minister has cast aspersion on the motive of the Narendra Modi Government and tried to politicise a national emergency like situation. This, especially when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Nagpur, had said that the Indian soldiers will decide the fate of the terrorists who were responsible for the killing of 44 CRPF soldiers in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.
By questioning the timing of Prime Minister’s announcement, the West Bengal chief minister stands exposed on the issue of national security.
It defies imagination that the chief minister of a state could take such a stand when the country is under attack and the PM has declared that a free hand has been given to the Army to tackle the situation.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)