Nobody can stand in defence of the Home Minister but is lampooning him the answer for tackling the present spread of terror? Is the Home Minister alone to be blamed for the inaction and chaos? Being the supposed ?chief policeman?, it certainly is his responsibility. That the gentleman is too soft was not unknown when he was appointed for the position. It is possibly this very quality that had selected him to the key post.
In an obvious scenario the Home Minister is at fault. He has been failing for the past four years in many fronts. The then ally Left Front also had demanded his removal. And he continued with his failed report card. Just contrast it with the situation in US and UK except the 9/11 and 7/7 nowhere the terrorists were successful because it was dealt with an iron hand.
This makes it clear that it is the failure of the political leadership ruling the Centre. It is the lack of political will that has emboldened the terrorist outfits not only of the type of SIMI, HUJI and Lashkar-e Toiba. The record of the Centre in dealing with the Naxalites has been even more abysmal.
Delhi has not been hit for the first time. In 2005 too similar blasts had taken place at various market places in Delhi. It has been followed by blasts at Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi, courts in Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhiwandi in Maharashtra, Mecca masjid at Hyderabad, and trains in Mumbai.
North-east too has been burning with insurgent activities. This government has made the least progress in talks with the Naga groups. Jammu and Kashmir can be added to it. It is an overstretching list.
The failure is naturally dumped on the Home Minister. Does the Home Minister have the mandate to deal with the situations from his political masters? This is the question that should rock the minds. The Home Minister has not been given the mandate to deal with the situations because when it comes to terror more than the action, the religion of the terrorist is uppermost. They have to be handled softly, that is the ruling echelon seems to believe, for the sake of votes of minorities.
This answers the long pending execution of the mastermind of Parliament attack, Afzal Guru. The state does not strike back at terrorist is the obvious message.
But it strikes in BJP-ruled Gujarat. It arrests the SIMI terrorists from across the span of the country. The state also alerts the Centre of the impending events in Delhi. The Centre preferred not to act on it.
The party in power could easily be blamed for the misdemeanor. The same party was in power in 1971 and also in early 1990s. Had the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi succumbed to the minorityism, East Pakistan would never have turned into what is today Bangladesh. Her Chief Minister SS Ray, who was also known for his impeccable dress sense, eliminated Naxalism in West Bengal in 1971.
She was also a keen vote bank player. That had led Punjab into a morass. Vote bank politics creates frankenstein. It led to her assassination. It could be solved by Beant Singh as Chief Minister and KPS Gill as Director General of Punjab Police.
In all these incidents of 1971 and 1990s, the soft talk and negotiations did not solve the problems. The state struck with a heavy sledgehammer at all these terror elements. Ray'spolice was ruthless in dealing with the Naxals. He also utilised the CPI-M cadre to eliminate them.
The problems could be solved because of strong-arm tactics backed by political will.
The lack of it has given rise to the present crisis. The then Chief Minister Lalu Yadav dealt Naxalites softly because he did not want to lose the votes of castes, which formed the core of the movement in Bihar that included present Jharkhand. Lalu Yadav is to be blamed for allowing Naxalism to grow and spread from his state. Lalu'sgovernment did not probe the source of funding and arms for the Naxal groups. It was even then coming from Nepal and Bangladesh but his government overlooked it. Today, as the elections are drawing closer, he can strike back at the Union Home Minister forgetting it was he, who has been a vocal supporter of SIMI terrorists.
The problem of the UPA government has been such elements that can be dubbed only as political opportunists robbed of any commitment to the country. The Home Minister, unlike Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, is not the powerful minister. He is just a bara babu, who is safe in office till he does not function. Even if he had been a strong personality, he would not have been allowed to function by the political dispensation. Else there would have been law and action to restrain and eliminate the terrorists. Other democracies, such as the US and UK have done so with a fair degree of success. Following the 9/11 attack in New York and 7/7 London blasts, the US and UK have so far managed to prevent significant terror attacks. Terrorist plans to blow up planes flying out of Heatrhow airport in London were foiled, the impact of suicide bombers in Glasgow airport in 2007 was minimised.
India, on the contrary, has been cowed down several times. Each time the nation failed not because lack of police action but because preventing the police from acting. Everyone knows that the stretch from Ghaziabad, 20 km from Delhi, to Saharanpur, about 170 km from the national capital, has become the active shelter of terrorists and their supporters. The UP police often accept it. They are not allowed to act as that might upset the minority vote banks. The government and the nation need to act with active combing operations in this region and parts of eastern UP.
No political dispensation in UP, be it Samajwadi Party or Bahujan Samaj Party or the Congress, has the will to deal with the grave situation. The easiest way is to blame a minister and sweep the carpet over the dirt and filth of terrorism.
Let the nation accept that we are at war. The political will has to be to win this war against terrorists who with their subtle strategy has penetrated deep into the societal system. India has suffered the worst in the hands of terrorists in the past few years. The nation needs to resolve by eliminating it. We need special laws with stringent punishment. Unfortunately, the rulers are more concerned about their ministerial berths than the concern to save the nation. It is not the Home Minister but the entire political dispensation is failing the country.
(The writer is senior political journalist.)