Members of Parliament should hang their heads in shame today.
On the 10th anniversary of the attack on the temple of democracy – Parliament, families of martyrs stayed away from the remembrance ceremony in Parliament - in protest.
They wanted Afzal Guru, convicted for the Parliament attack to be hanged. But this blog is not about Afzal Guru. Not hanging Afzal Guru is just symptomatic of the malaise. What is our attitude towards national security? Are we blind to the threat – government and opposition? Our lawmakers owe not just the next of kin of Parliament attack martyrs but even the nation, an explanation.
•Where is the biggest threat to India's national security originating from?
•10 years after Parliament attack are we as a nation more secure?
•Can we effectively deal with the threat from the source of terror?
•Not just neutralise the pawns in the terror matrix – can India take out the kings of terror?
Afzal Guru is a mere pawn. Hanging or not hanging him is not as big an issue today. What the nation's powers that be on Raisina Hill must answer is - can we, as a nation, 10 years after 13/12 effectively target the source of terror?
Pakistan was the source of terror, 10 years ago and remains a threat today. Perhaps even bigger than 10 years ago. Terrorists like Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Masood Azhar, Dawood Ibrahim operate in tandem with Pakistan's ISI to strike India at will – at a place, time and with intensity of their choosing.
Do prime minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj and the 800 respected lawmakers have a plan to deal with the threat? This is not a threat to the government. This is not a threat to the opposition. This is a threat to the nation and together the lawmakers have to discuss, debate and move forward to effectively deal with the threat.
10 years after 9/11 the US took out Osama Bin Laden, the biggest threat to US national security. The US has been waging war relentlessly on the source of that terror – not winning yet – but engaging the terrorists and their masterminds in Pakistan (often failing). But you cant blame the US for not trying or as Admiral Mike Mullen finally did – calling a spade a spade.
India neither has the military wherewithal nor the political will to take Pakistan's jihad factories – funded by the Pakistan Army and ISI – head on. India clearly cannot do an Abbotabad type operation to take out Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim and Masood Azhar.
But there are hundreds of other options that the government must pursue. Covert operations to tell the enemy – every action has a bigger reaction that hits the perpetrators hard. It should be on the table. And should be exercised.
The Prime Minister and the lawmakers have fortified themselves in multi layer security. It's the aam aadmi – who travels in Mumbai and Delhi trains, shops at local markets, visits temples and mosques –is in the line of fire.
Real tribute to those who gave up their lives protecting the temple of democracy – and those who give up their lives every day protecting the nation from Pakistan sponsored terror would be to neutralize the threat at its source. Otherwise remembrance ceremonies at Parliament or Gateway of India will mean nothing.
You must hang Afzal Guru. But don't just stop there.