Time to settle PoK issue once & for all!

   By Vijay Darda | 18-12-2023

Considering challenges that terrorism pose, another lapse in the security of Parlt is a very serious issue

Vijay Darda

This time I wanted to write in this column about the newly appointed chief ministers in four states as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah’s unique strategy, which always throws surprises. Nobody expected Mohan Yadav of Madhya Pradesh, Vishnu Deo Sai of Chhattisgarh or first-time MLA Bhajan Lal Sharma of Rajasthan to become chief ministers of their states. Even the three of them might not have thought about their ascension to the coveted post!

In each of these three states, two deputy chief ministers too have been appointed to strengthen the election arithmetics of 2024. In Indian politics, this is not the first time that a completely new person has been handed over the reigns of the state. Narendra Modi himself was not even an MLA when he became chief minister of Gujarat in 2001. There are plenty of other such examples, but what distinguishes Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is that they accomplish the unbelievable. The duo takes each step with great care. Maybe, that is why it is said, “Modi Hai Toh Mumkin Hai!”

While I was discussing the Modi-Shah strategy, another incident of Parliament security breach came to light. In my view, this is a very serious, unusual and extremely worrying incident for the country. It was December 13 in 2001 too, when Pakistan-born terrorists, armed with sophisticated weapons and explosives, had attacked our Parliament. Nine persons, including five security guards, were killed and 16 jawans were injured. I was a member of Parliament at the time and that horrifying incident still haunts me to this day. The then Prime Minister Atal ji and leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi had already left the House but all the other stalwarts including L K Advani were present there, and they were all taken to the basement for protection from the terrorists.

When the new Parliament building was built, I assumed that there would be no security lapses. But I am astonished and worried as to how such a serious security lapse occurred? Have we not learnt a lesson from the past? After the Parliament was attacked once, it should have been ensured that not even an iota of disturbance and terror could enter the portals of our temple of democracy. Even if passes were issued to the miscreants on the recommendation of an MP, what about the security check? That was the responsibility of the security personnel! We have to accept that there were flaws in the security arrangements of Parliament, and the cost could have been anything! How did the miscreants manage to carry smoke canisters inside? What is the purpose of deployment of our security apparatus and sophisticated equipment then?

What if there would have been explosives instead of smoke canisters? Parliament is not a common place. It is the workplace for the representatives of 140 crore people. Parliament is the country’s honour. Any tampering with or attack on it is an attack on the entire country. The Prime Minister, home minister, defence minister, foreign minister, other ministers and prominent figures work there. Any security breach at such a sensitive place should be considered an unpardonable crime. The security breach is really shocking. Sometimes someone enters the Prime Minister’s convoy and sometimes this happens with some other stalwart! Is everyone’s safety left to their fate? Are our leaders safe because of their virtue?

What if there had been terrorists, instead of miscreant youths who stormed the Parliament and sprayed yellow smoke? The sworn aim of terrorist outfits nurtured by Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI is to destroy us. We have been bearing the brunt of terrorism for years. Who can forget the terrible 26/11 Mumbai attacks? There is a long list of such attacks. Our military installations have been targeted. Something or the other happens every day in Kashmir. The reports of terrorist modules being busted in different parts of the country keep coming in. The security should be tight in such a situation. Terrorists are operating across the world, and as much as their system is developed, we have to keep our security apparatus more sophisticated and fool-proof. We have witnessed the recent failure of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad during the attack perpetrated by Hamas.

Every breakdown of the intelligence apparatus creates a new problem; we must understand this and act accordingly. It is also vital to note that India is becoming an economic power and the terrorists want to target this power as well. That is why the business titans Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani have been provided with tight security covers. Tata has also received threats. Whatever field the leaders come from, their security cover should be unbreachable. Another critical point is that if terrorism is to be defeated, the issue of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) must be resolved once and for all. The home minister Amit Shah also stated in Parliament this month that 24 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly have been reserved for PoK because that part of Kashmir is ours too.

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Tujhe salaam!