THE United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre has failed miserably on all fronts, but its failure on the front of national security has proved to be most disgraceful and scandalous. It has made the safety of citizens a joke. The July 13 attacks on Mumbai are a testimony to its shocking negligence. The Times Of India carried an excellent news report (July 16) showing the insincerity of our political masters in combating terror. “The seven high-speed craft the government procured in the wake of 26/11 to protect the coastline along Thane district are mostly lying unused. There is not enough fuel to run them nor enough trained personnel to operate them,” the report said.
Further, a police official lamented the paucity of funds for fuel for the boats. “We have to ration the petrol, so we operate just one boat for an hour a day. For the remaining 23 hours, the entire coastline is left unpatrolled,” he said.
The negligence does not end here. “The location where these boats are anchored displays our policymakers’ apathy towards the security of the coasts. The place lacks a permanent jetty and there are no facilities to shelter the police personnel tasked with coastal security. The arms and ammunition are kept in the armory at Thane as no provision has been made to store the weaponry at Versova,” the police official said.
Could there be anything more shameless? We have a government which has spent thousands of crores of rupees on Air India, despite the fact no aviation or financial expert in his right senses can recommend the revival of national carrier. Buckling under pressure from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and her NAC jihadis, the Manmohan Singh government is also said to be in the process of passing the Food Security Bill; this will further strain the already precarious fiscal situation. But it does not have the money for patrol boats!
Obsessed with socialist ideology—Air India has to be in the public sector, whatever may the cost; welfare fetishism as exemplified by the proposed food security law—the UPA government has put the issues pertaining to law and order very low on the agenda. For instance, security experts have been complaining about the adequate police force. Against the global average of 270 cops per lakh people, we have just 140. This is apart from the corruption, inefficiencies, and inherent inadequacies of the police system. Few politicians in the country are bothered about police reforms.
And then there are politicians who don’t care a hoot about sensitivity and decency while talking about terrorism. Rahul Gandhi is one of them. The terror attack killed 23 and wounded many more, rattled the commercial capital of the country, and angered all Indians. A day after the outrage, as the city was trying to limp back to normal and the victims were groaning in hospitals, the crown prince said that total elimination of terror attacks was impossible. He went on to laud his own government for having largely succeeded in controlling terror assaults. “It’s very difficult to stop every single terror attack. Terrorism is impossible to stop all the time. But 99 per cent of terror attacks have been stopped due to strong vigilance and intelligence efforts,” he said. So, what should we do? Instead of castigating the Congress-led governments in New Delhi and Mumbai for their gross incompetence and worse in checking the jihadis, should we hail Rahul, the lame duck Prime Minister, and the super-Prime Minister Sonia mama as divine creatures? Should we sing hosannas in praise of such gods and goddesses? By making such gauche remarks, Rahul has added salt to the injuries of the victims.
Then there is Home Minister P Chidambaram who reacts by saying that all cities are vulnerable to attacks. He went on to say that terrorism is a global phenomenon. At a press conference, he listed the number of attacks in other countries. So, we have some consolation: it is not only the Indians but others as well who are dying because of terror! Thank God for small mercies.
Of late, the UPA government has begun peddling a perverse form of globalisation. When questions are asked about soaring inflation, they say it’s happening all over the world. When it faces flak for its ineptitude in tackling jihad, it says terrorism is not restricted to India.
While it is true that global commodity prices have been hardening for some time, it is undeniable that mindless populism of the government has also augmented the aam aadmi’s torment. Similarly, developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan and regular terror funding from the Middle East are a big problem, but the sins of omission and commission by the UPA regime are too obvious to be ignored. Yes, terror strikes have been happening all over the world, but no such thing has happened in the US since the September 11 attacks in 2001. Similarly, the UK was able to stop any incident after the London terror attack on July 7, 2005.
How does Rahul respond to the fact that the US has precluded terror attacks on its soil? “They are losing people in Afghanistan,” he said. Apart from the sophistry—attacks in US are not the same thing as American soldiers suffering casualties in Afghanistan—there is the assumption that we should never compare India with the countries which do a good job in shielding their citizens from terrorism. The UPA’s benchmark for security is not the developed world but Afghanistan. It is like saying that Manmohan Singh is a good Prime Minister because he is better than VP Singh.