India has been and continues to be a victim of terrorism. It has lost more than 45,000 lives in Kashmir and elsewhere. Some reports suggest that closer to 60,000 lives have been lost in the last decade or so. One would imagine that such huge loss of life and property due to terrorism would engender alertness and a no-nonsense approach to tackle this scourge. But I was disappointed at the recent turn of events in India.
The courts have awarded death sentence to a terrorist who attacked Parliament. While this verdict has been widely welcomed, the nation was witness to the ignominy of the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir seeking clemency for the terrorist. Senior politicians in the valley too wanted the terrorist to be pardoned. They were apparently concerned about 'street protest against the death sentence'. A band of so called intellectuals have joined the chorus seeking clemency. The UPA government for its part maintained a studied silence that has only befuddled Indians.
India's fight against terrorism is a long and lonely fight , often fraught with failures largely due to the conspicuous absence of a political will. Jehadi terror elements now have widespread support and sanctuary in Nepal and Bangladesh. Pakistan has established deep networks of sleeper cells throughout the country and even in administrations at state and central governments. A former intelligence officer has also written about senior politicians on ISI's payroll. In other words, India has been watching and twiddling its thumbs while an elaborate network to destabilize the country has been built. This has now reached a new high and poses a grave threat to the very existence of India.
It must be said that the police and intelligence agencies have performed their duties diligently in spite of meager resources. Often they have to contend with the enemy within ' political interference from the likes of Gulam Nabi Azad. The 7/11 Mumbai blast investigations is a case in point. Sheer hard work by the ATS and related agencies has unraveled the terror network in India. It is irresponsible for the government or a chief minister, given the gravity of terror threats to India, to play politics with the award of death sentence to a terrorist. Seeking clemency will negate the work of the judiciary and the police. Above all, it will demoralize the people, who in the final analysis face the ghastly consequences of terror.
But what are these people protesting against? Is it that the judicial process was unfair? Or was it inept police investigations? Or is it that the killing of innocents is not a crime? Or is it that these perpetrators are not 'terrorists' but 'misguided youngsters' as our pseudo secular politicians would have us believe? They are in effect protesting against a unified India that is trying to fight the scourge of terrorism. Where were these voices when more than 180 people were killed in the train blasts in Mumbai in July? Where was Gulam, Nabi Azad when Varanasi, Bangalore and other places were bombed? Where were these voices when Kamlesh Kumari and other brave police officers lost their lives on 13th December 2001 when Parliament was attacked? Five years since, Kamlesh Kumari's husband and two children have not received the four lakh rupees promised by Delhi Government? What did Gulam Nabi Azad do in Delhi to help Kamlesh Kumari's family? I am not sure if Gulam Nabi Azad himself was inside Parliament building when these brave police officers laid down their lives. As George Bush would like to ask, Gulam Nabi Azad needs to tell us if he is with us or with the enemy.
Also some well knew India-baiters have taken to the streets demanding clemency. I am talking about Arundhati Roy. Remember she was protesting when India tested its nuclear weapons in 1998? Also, she was against the Narmada dam. She was held for contempt of the Supreme Court of India. This person has no respect or regard for India or its laws and its judiciary. Not to forget our anti-national Left parties who have the inglorious reputation of welcoming the Chinese invasion in 1962! These malcontents have one objective ' undo India and its pluralistic civilization. And the death sentence to a terrorist is yet another opportunity for them to whine.
As a Chief Minister, Gulam Nabi Azad has publicly sworn to protect the constitution of India. By joining hands with other malcontents, he has disgraced a high political office. After all, like Manmohan Singh, Gulam too was nominated for the post by Sonia Gandhi. He too holds office at the pleasure of Sonia, not the people of Kashmir or the people of India. Given his public cry for clemency for a terrorist who waged war against India, we may not know if he is with us or with the enemy. Nor do I care. But I do know that the people of India are not with Gulam Nabi Azad and they want the terrorist hanged. Nor will I be surprised if these India-baiters call for clemency again for those who await the death sentence in the Bombay blasts of 1993. Again, India will not be with them.