Government on Terrorism - Towards Paralysis and Paranoia
Mary had a little lamb,
Little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow
Everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went,
Everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go
The lamb grew into a sheep
And Mary gave him the House to keep
When the House he could not keep
At first he did peep and bleep
Till Mary told him to go to sleep
Then he let out a bleat and went to sleep,
Went to sleep, went to sleep...
*Peep =to speak in a hesitant, thin, high-pitched voice
Behind this light hearted twist to the nursery rhyme are hidden a multitude of feelings of shock, disgust, pain, hurt, anger, distress, disillusionment, despair and the realization by the people of the country that the present Government is completely incapable of meeting any threats to the safety and security of the people, whether from within or without.
Yet another blast took place on 27th Sept. in Delhi, the country’s Capital, exactly two weeks after the previous blasts on 13th Sept. 2008.
What the UPA Government has been saying and doing or not doing on the subject of Terrorists and Terrorism has become a matter of utter disbelief and incredulity in the minds of all right-thinking Indians. The people are well and truly fed up with the asinine utterings matched with inaction of those in authority. An earlier article (see here) has clearly analysed and pointed out some critical areas which, in fact, encourage terrorists to go about their business at will. Everything that has been said in that article has been borne out by events that have taken place before and since then.
The time has certainly come to first consider where the real responsibility lies and establish culpability for the loss of innocent lives – a negation of the right to live, the most fundamental of all human rights. The terrorist acts of anti national elements have assumed a regularity over the last four years that can be hardly expected or tolerated in a civilised country, much less in the largest democracy of the world. Each act of terrorism like bomb blasts is a brazen challenge to the writ of the State which has been getting progressively weakened.
In the minds of the people, there is no doubt that the Union Government has utterly failed in ensuring safety and security of the people. Within the Government, the blame has been largely placed on Shivraj Patil, the Minister for Home Affairs, he being in charge of the internal security. To be sure, he does have a responsibility in maintaining the internal security. But that is only a superficial and partial conclusion and it is necessary to look behind him to place the responsibility wherever it must be placed. He has been the ‘fall guy” and the people who should really also be held to account are content to let the perception strengthen that he is responsible. In reality, he is only the cat’s paw. It is time to fix the ultimate responsibility and let the culpability rest where it must.
To do so, one must hear the blarney that comes from the horse’s (or sheep's) mouth. Shivarj had this clear admission to make on his position as Home Minister on 15.9.2008.
“Well, I have full blessings of my leader”
This single statement by the Home Minister has several implications. First, that he owes his position solely to his party leader. Second, the Prime Minister’s prerogative to choose his Council of Ministers is completely irrelevant as far as including or dropping Shivraj is concerned. Third that Shivraj does not consider himself accountable to the Constitution or the people but only to his party chief at whose pleasure he survives. Although the reality of the Congress party and the constraints on the authority of the Prime Minister are well known, it is the brazen pronouncement of a senior Minister confirming this that is more shocking. More than all this, he seems to be clearly conveying to the world at large as well as his party chief that it was she who asked him to be the Home Minister and if things have gone wrong, she has also to take the blame.
What he seems to imply is completely true and the primary responsibility for the state of affairs in the Home Affairs must be placed on the leadership of his party, who chose a cross between a show horse and a pack horse to perform as a race horse. Parents of young school going kids also know the meaning of the word ‘aptitude’ and its importance in deciding an appropriate career path for their kids. The Congress party chief ought to know what everyone else knows that Shivraj just does not have the aptitude, let alone the temperament and capabilities to handle such a demanding job as the Home Minister considering the multitude of serious problems related to Home Affairs from infiltration to naxalism to terrorism. There was nothing in his previous record in Government to suggest that he was capable of handling this crucial portfolio. The main consideration for which he was chosen to be the Home Minister appears to have been what people already believe firmly: He was chosen primarily because the Ministry comprises the critical departments that handle sensitive matters related to political persons. Considering this, he had undisputed qualifications of loyalty to the Congress President coupled with a lack of any ambition to tempt him to use his access to the sensitive departments to gain unfair advantage for his own benefit. At the same time, he could be implicitly trusted to use these departments to show opponents or party rebels their place as and when required. On the other hand, anyone else who might have the competence to handle the Ministry would surely have higher ambitions and would not be averse to use his position for his own advantage and more importantly, to place some people in awkward situations. He may also not be so obliging as Shivraj. This double advantage really seems to have led to him being made the Home Minister. Other than this, there is no apparent justification at all for giving Shivraj the Home portfolio. Although his removal is clearly called for (see related article), the reason advanced for not doing so is that it would amount to acknowledging the failure of the Government. This is specious reasoning as the world already knows that the Government has failed. In fact, Shivraj has become a symbol of incompetence and his removal would send a signal that the Government means business. Therefore, the real reason appears to be that his removal would place the blame directly on the doorstep of the Congress President for choosing him in the first place. And the problem of finding a ‘trustworthy’ replacement would still remain. It is futile to expect a person selected and continued on such extraneous considerations to perform. The responsibility, therefore, for placing the country’s internal security in jeopardy must surely lie first and foremost on the Congress President and the Party who took the unwise political decision of nominating Shivraj in that position.
The second person who must own the responsibility is the person who heads the Government, Sardar Manmohan Singh. Agreed that he was also a reluctant candidate for the Prime Ministership. Unlike Shivraj though, he did have a good record as an eminent economist and a Minister of Finance and had sound administrative experience. When he very well knew that he had no temperament to deal with truant or non-performing ministers imposed on him from the Congress or the allies and keep them on a tight leash, he ought to have designated someone of the stature of Pranab Mukerjee as Deputy Prime Minister. Perhaps, the reason he did not do this could be the understandings with the allies on power sharing. Clearly the compulsions of coalition politics have played their own role in the failures of the present Government as a whole.
Although constitutionally the entire Cabinet has the collective responsibility, the other allies have been by and large deliberately distancing themselves from the mess as the Prime Minister as well as the Home Ministry and its Minister are Congress babies. It is hoped but not certain that at least in the Cabinet meetings, these allies have made their position or opposition clear on the state of affairs.
The conclusion is then inevitable that while the Government and the Union Cabinet have the constitutional responsibility, the real culpability for the continuing loss of innocent lives lies with the Congress party, the party chief Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister, also of the Congress, Sardar Manmohan Singh. The people have come to realise as much.
And what are the main characters viz. the Congress Party and the UPA Government, in one of the most sordid chapters on internal security in the country’s history doing now?
Let us examine that too………