Dec 1, 2008

India - Our real heroes

Pankaj Vohra

Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad Chief Hemant Karkare was accused by elements within the Sangh Parivar of targeting Hindu militants involved in the Malegaon blasts to please ‘his Congress bosses’. Wonder what the BJP has to say after Karkare along with his colleagues were among the first to fall to the bullets of Islamic terrorists in the line of their duty. Obviously all those who attributed motives behind the actions of Karkare, a thorough professional, must now publicly apologise.

Karkare, Gajendra Singh, Sandeep Unnikrishnan, ML Sharma (of the ‘Jamia encounter’) and others symbolise the best of our nation. They also symbolise the determination of our security forces to keep our country safe. People like these — and those who laid down their lives fighting in conflicts like the Kargil war — are the real heroes of our country. They are the ones who should be made icons — not the fake celebrities who often take up space on Page 3 and on several segments of our television networks.

What has happened in Mumbai is not only shocking but it has again brought into focus the total helplessness and inability of those who govern us to stand up and come out with solutions to battle this kind of terror. As construction magnate Ajit Gulabchand put it on a TV network, the time has come to take stock of the situation and take up the issues ‘on the front foot’ instead of hiding behind politics to appease minorities or one section or the other.

It is only if India survives that the political parties and those who live here will also survive.

The threat from outside the country is very clear. There is no point in turning a blind eye to it. To presume that action against Islamists is going to alienate the Muslim community from the ruling dispensation is a very narrow way of thinking. Anyone — Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian — who acts against the interests of the nation has to be punished severely and the consideration for this should certainly not be vote-bank politics but the overall security of the people.

Let us not fool ourselves that Pakistani rulers are angels and their intention is to forge friendship with India. The Pakistani government is not in control of things to a great degree and from things happening in India, it is increasingly becoming clear that the government here is slowly becoming like the government there.

Those who are at the helm of affairs cannot escape responsibility. If they cannot live up to the task, they should allow others who can rise to the occasion.

The details of the Mumbai strike are still being gathered. But it is evident that the Laskhar-e-Tayyeba, along with some accomplices within India, has carried out this dastardly act. Lashkar chief Hafiz-ul-Saeed had told a congregation in Muridke (near Lahore) some days ago that India needed to be taught a lesson. India has been taught one lesson: that there can be no compromise on fighting terror and Pakistan cannot be trusted to be an ally in this war against terror.

The chorus for the resignations of the Home Minister or the National Security Adviser may grow louder within the ruling dispensation. But the fact remains that this government is just not working out. A saying in Urdu goes: “Sarkar iqbal se chalti hai.’’ (Governments run on prestige and confidence they exude.) But it is obvious that India has not had a government for a long time for which this can be said.

The Sangh Parivar must stop politicising this issue and, for starters, L.K. Advani should withdraw his remarks in praise of Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The Lalus and Mulayams should also act responsibly.

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