On December 13 the top leadership of the country – Vice-President of India Mr Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Smt Meira Kumar, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson and Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi, veteran BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Lal Krishna Advani and many others paid their rich tributes to the nine brave securitymen and other personnel who laid down their lives defending the security of the Parliament.
It is difficult to say what it all amounted to — a eulogy and homage to the great martyrs or a homily to Afzal Guru, “perpetrator of the crime” to attack Parliament House sentenced to death in 2004. He was sentenced to death by the trial court in December 2002 and on appeal by him the sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2004. For the last over five years, the present UPA government has given him a fresh lease of life taking shelter behind procedural and technical grounds.
In 2006 another irony was added to this unfortunate case when the eight bereaved families surrendered the keerti chakra medals presented to them by the Union Government. In protest against the undue delay and dilatory tactics adopted by the government by not hanging Afzal Guru, they returned the gallantry medals. The widow of head constable martyr Vijender Singh who took a bullet in his chest, said: “Our martyrs’ sacrifice will be futile if Afzal doesn’t get the death penalty. The government is trying to insult us with these medals”.
Addressing a press conference in Washington on November 25, Dr Manmohan Singh on the eve of the first anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, said: “His government will not rest till we brought the perpetrators of the crime to justice”.
These words sound hollow in the face of the stark reality that for over five years, the UPA government has hardly done anything concrete to come up true to PM’s own words: “His government will not rest till we have brought the perpetrators (in this case, Afzal Guru) of this crime to justice”. In other words, “his government” is just taking “rest” in bringing the perpetrators of this crime (Parliament attack) to justice”.
Congress President Smt Sonia Gandhi did find time to meet Smt Kavita Karkare, wife of Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad Chief Hemant Karkare who was killed at the hands of terrorists last year, but there is nothing on record about her reaction to Smt Karkare’s demand for hanging of the accused Kasab if found guilty by the courts.
Hemant Karkare and other police officers who valiantly lost their life fighting terrorists too were awarded gallantry awards for their bravery. Do these bereaved families also await the same fate and justice as extended to the martyrs in Parliament attack case?
This government’s actions are more eloquent than its words. It is no use being brave in words and not being so in actions.