Thursday, December 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mere words won’t suffice, Advani tells Pak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
India today asked Pakistan to take action against the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad responsible for the terrorist attack on Parliament on December 13 and hand over terrorists like Ghazi Baba, Maulana Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim if Islamabad was serious about its credentials of being a responsible member of the international campaign against terrorism.

Replying to the two-day discussion on the December 13 attack on Parliament in the two Houses, Home Minister L.K. Advani said it would be very difficult to normalise relations with Pakistan if it continued to sponsor cross-border terrorism and proxy war against India.

With this attack on Parliament, the Pakistan-based terrorist outfits have crossed the “Lakshman rekha”, Mr Advani said. “There could be nothing bigger than this,” he said, adding that the sacrifice of security force personnel would not be allowed to go waste.

Asserting that people of India were determined to stamp out terrorism, Mr Advani assured the members that their suggestions would be taken into account in formulating the government’s response.

Renewing New Delhi’s proposal for an extradition treaty with Islamabad, the Home Minister sought to allay apprehensions of some of the Opposition leaders about the safety and security of minorities and said that the fight against terrorism was not between Hindus and Muslims but it was a civilisation versus barbarism battle.

Earlier, Congress President Sonia Gandhi gave full backing to the government in whatever steps it takes to tackle terrorism.

“The Congress will back the Government in its efforts to track down and bring to justice terrorists who are threatening nation’s integrity today”, Mrs Gandhi said intervening in the discussions.

She said the need of the hour at this critical juncture was to rise above party considerations. “This is also the time for all concerned to desist from raising contentious issues that divide our pluralistic society”, Leader of the Opposition said in an apparent reference to the Government’s move to introduce anti-terrorism bill for replacing the controversial POTO.Back


Why House adjournment
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19
The BJP-led NDA government and the Opposition failed to reconcile their differences on the agenda to be pursued in Parliament till December 21 necessitating the premature ringing down of the curtain on the winter session.

The strategy suited both the Atal Behari Vajpayee government and the Opposition as it facilitated in sending a message that all sections of Parliament irrespective of their ideologies were one in combating the menace of terrorism which had assumed alarming proportions with the December 13 attack on the country’s democratic polity.

Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi and Rajya Sabha Chairman Vice-President Krishan Kant believed that it would be in the fitness of things to adjourn Parliament sine die rather than conduct the proceedings of the House for another two days which would have brought to the fore the sharp division amid unruly scenes.

Stung by the audacious attack by Pakistan-aided terrorists at the root of India’s democratic system, the Government and the Opposition decided to part ways to meet again during the Budget session of Parliament in February next year. It was resolved to back the government in its decisive battle against cross-border terrorism which cannot be compartmentalised.

The turn of events since December 13 and the anger of a wide cross-section of public opinion against the Congress, the Left and other opposition parties of indulging in nitpicking when the country’s unity and integrity was in danger compelled them to adopt a 360 degree turn in their stand.

This was evidenced by the measured and tempered speeches of Leader of the Opposition Sonia Gandhi and others ranged against the Vajpayee government trying to rise above partisanship in this hour of crisis.

On his part, Mr Vajpayee also assured that his government would carefully plan its offensive against terrorists trying to whip up a fear psychosis in the country and take the Opposition into confidence.

For the moment, the Opposition has sought to steer clear of trying to put the government on the mat be it the CAG report pertaining to the alleged coffin scam for Kargil martyrs or seeking the dismissal of Union Defence Minister George Fernandes till the Venkataswamy Commission probing the expose of bungling in defence deals submits its report to the government.

There is no doubt it will not be long before the Opposition brings these issues back to the forefront especially as Assembly elections in UP, Punjab and Uttaranchal are barely 10 weeks away.Back

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