For someone who has seen and suffered terror up close and personal, Rahul Gandhi’s comments are disappointing and sad to say the least. Not comments you’d expect from a man being groomed to take over the reins of a billion strong nation of secular Indians.
What is extremely frightening, these comments were not made for public consumption. These were not words uttered at a rally to sway voters. These words were uttered in private – in confidence to the US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer. One would naturally feel this is what Rahul Gandhi actually thinks.
That be the case his appreciation of terror needs a mid course correction. He is a member of parliament. He is seen as the heir apparent of the ruling party in the country and he has the prime minister’s ear. Perhaps, it would be in the fitness of things to have the Director Intelligence Bureau and the Secretary Research and Analysis Wing depute officers to brief Rahul Gandhi about the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its activities in India.
Terror is terror – it has no religion, caste, creed, sex or colour. Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian is not the question at all. This characterization of terror only helps terrorists succeed.
Rahul Gandhi has been quoted as saying that Hindu Radical groups are a bigger threat than even the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He was talking to the US ambassador in India on July 20, 2009. The ambassador is learnt to have broached the subject of LeT activities in the region and its immediate threat to India.
Remember, this conversation was taking place barely 8 months after 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists attacked Mumbai and held off the Indian state for 59 hours killing 166 innocent people.
The Yuvraj of the Congress party said there was evidence of some support for LeT among certain elements of Indian Muslims but he felt the bigger threat was the growth of radicalized Hindu groups.
So eight months after the worst ever terror attack on India, which police insist was carried out by Pakistan based Lashkar –e Taiba, the prime minister in waiting felt radical Hindu groups are the bigger threat.
Rahul Gandhi is making the same mistake that Bal Thackeray made in Mumbai – our mafia versus your mafia. So Chota Rajan was acceptable but Dawood Ibrahim was not. The police and security agencies just follow signals they receive from the political masters. The police automatically went soft on one set of mafia and hard on the other.
A statement like this from Rahul Gandhi may send the wrong signal again. Rahul Gandhi flanked by armed to the teeth special protection group commandoes, will, God willing remain safe. It is the common man on the street that would bear the brunt of terror. Once again.
This is not the time for point scoring and pontificating. The BJP should not try and score points. After all this is not a high school debate and clearly the BJP’s track record in fighting terror is nothing much to write home about.
A party that sent a union minister to escort dreaded terrorists to Kandahar – who in turn killed scores of innocent Indians and the party that gave respectability and acceptance to a military dictator like Pervez Musharraf has no locus standi to take the high moral ground on combating terror.
This is the time for the entire political leadership to come together and educate themselves about terror and the harm it does to the man on the street. How terror not only kills people in bomb blasts and firing, but also destroys lives of people who have lost their near and dear ones. Rahul Gandhi should know that.