`NDA can’t be pardoned for not punishing Afzal Guru`
On the eighth anniversary of the attack on Indian Parliament, veteran politician and JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav spoke with Zeenews.com’s Ritam Banati about the happenings of that fateful day and about what is fuelling terrorism in India.
Ritam: Please give a first hand account of your thoughts as and when the events unfolded on the fateful day of the terror attack on Parliament?
Sharad Yadav: The news came suddenly. Bullets were being fired outside. Doors got closed. Even in the wildest of my imagination, I could not have thought of such a thing taking place. It was an assault on democracy’s highest institution. At the time a lot of ministers including me were present inside the Parliament. Subsequently, the then NDA government deployed more troops on the border.
Ritam: Despite the massive deployment of troops as part of Operation Parakram, the killing of 34 people at a J&K Army camp less than a year after the incident could not be stopped. Do you think only an Indo-Pak war can put an end to this continual mayhem?
Sharad Yadav: War is not the solution to all problems. Pakistan at the time officially condemned the violent act. They also said that the gunmen involved were not Pakistanis. Thus, they distanced themselves from the incident. The world at large also came in our support.
Ritam: The 2001 Parliament attack was preceded by the attack on the J&K Assembly. It was succeeded by a string of attacks across the nation in 2003, 2005 and then the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Why are the terrorists so emboldened when it comes to attacking India?
Sharad Yadav: I see India as the primary victim of terrorism. There is a proxy war which is incessantly going on. And nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar are mainly behind this proxy war. The reason for the same is despite the fact that troops are deployed at the borders India shares with these nations, some areas are not protected by barbed wires. And it is because of these unprotected areas that easy infiltration into India has been possible. The process to erect fencing is on with great speed at these pockets to curb militants’ entry. It is also a question of having the necessary wherewithal to cope with the menace.
Ritam: Talking of the necessary wherewithal, do you think that now the security apparatus of the Parliament complex is tighter than it used to be in 2001, which was one of the main reasons why the gunmen with RDX succeeded in entering the compound?
Sharad Yadav: Parliament has already debated this issue. And the necessary steps have been taken.
Ritam: What about executing the mastermind of the attack - Afzal Guru? Did the NDA government of the time not fail on this count?
Sharad Yadav: The delay in execution is a judicial matter. It is because of the entire system, which works in such a manner that quick justice seems impossible. To this extent the government cannot be absolved of blame.
Ritam: But was it not the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition that played a crucial role in leading up to the 2001 attack on Indian democracy?
Sharad Yadav: Yes. I agree.
Ritam: Subsequently, considering the succeeding assaults on Indian soil, would you say that our Intelligence is not strong enough in terms of information gathering?
Sharad Yadav: I can only say that lapses exist everywhere and no system can be devoid of it.
Ritam: How do you think extremism can be tackled in the country?
Sharad Yadav: Like I said before, the border areas which are not protected are also a source of provocation. To elaborate, Pakistan and Bangladesh are sending criminal elements through these border pockets. Nepal Maoists are seeking an entry via unmanned border territory. And the insurgency in the Northeast is being fuelled by Myanmar. Once all this is taken care of, Naxalism, Northeast insurgency and terrorism can be handled better.
Ritam: Thank you Mr. Yadav for your valuable time
Sharad Yadav: Thank you
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