M A I N   N E W S

Parliament resolves to defeat terrorism
Nation remembers 26/11, frayed tempers mar solemnity
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Solemnity of the occasion notwithstanding, members in the Lok Sabha found time to mock at each other over issues arising out of Mumbai terror attacks.

This, after both Houses of Parliament had adopted a unanimous resolution to “unitedly fight and defeat terrorism and never again allow them to spill the blood of innocent people”.

It took barely an hour in the Lok Sabha for the resolve (read out by Speaker Meira Kumar) to get lost in the din, and the usual sparring to overtake the seriousness of the occasion.

Leader of Opposition LK Advani, much to the displeasure of Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the House, accused the UPA, in zero hour, of delaying the grant of relief to Mumbai terror victims and forcing widows of victims to come to Delhi for help. Of the 403 cases eligible under the PM’s Relief Fund, only 118 had received cheques so far, claimed Advani, adding that only 32 of the 64 persons eligible for jobs in the Railways had actually got these.

While the BJP, led by MP Ananth Kumar kept mounting pressure on Pranab for an assurance on a central cell to coordinate relief efforts, the latter excused himself by saying there was no precedence of ministerial assurances in zero hour. He took further refuge in the fact that he had come all the way to the House only to listen to the Leader of Opposition.

That, however, did little to stem the Opposition tirade that eventually elicited from Pranab Mukherjee a response that was as political in tone as was its provocation. “You played politics on 26/11 earlier, and were paid back in your own coin. You are again playing politics and will again be paid back in your coin,” thundered the Finance Minister.

With Advani doing little to calm down his men, even Speaker Meira Kumar’s repeated requests to respect the sombreness of the day and allow the House to run smoothly went in vain. What one did hear was Ananth Kumar’s repeated demand of an assurance from adamant Pranab. “Leader of the House has a duty to respond. It is not an ordinary issue,” said Kumar, but it had little effect on Pranab Mukherjee.

BJP MP from Maharashtra Kirit Soumya yesterday submitted to the PMO a detailed representation on the plight of Mumbai terror victims, many of whom had got no compensation yet.

“Of the 93 proposals sent for grant of ex gratia under the government’s relief and rehabilitation package, 63 claims have been termed ineligible; 18 sidelined as they haven’t been made by victims themselves, 20 because they bear incomplete addresses; 91 are pending for JJ Hospital, Mumbai, to furnish disability certificates,” the representation states, adding that much of the delay was being caused due to the involvement of 12 agencies in coordinating relief distribution.



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