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Attack on Parliament unites the nation
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

The whole nation was rattled following the gruesome terrorist attack on Parliament on 13 December when six armed militants raided the apex complex with sophisticated arms and a large cache of explosives and managed to kill till the latest tally eight persons including seven security personnel and injured many others. Five militants were also killed in the ensuing gunbattle between the security guards and the militants that lasted over one hour. One militant is reportedly in police custody.

Police sources said that the terrorists not only intended to kill as many MPs as possible but also to make them hostage for as long as possible. Around a dozen people have been arrested so far in connection with the attack. The government after preliminary inquiries has indicted Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, both Pakistan-based militant organizations operating in Jammu and Kashmir. It has also asked Pakistan to rein in these organizations and hand over the people who are behind the attack on the Parliament.

The whole nation seems to have been brought together following the cruel attack on the heart of the Indian democracy. All political, social and religious parties and the man on the street have come together and rallied behind the government in this hour of crisis. All the differences that existed between the government and the opposition parties seem to have been given a back seat as of now and the government has been given a free hand to deal with the crisis.

Just before the attack the government and Opposition had locked horns on a host of issues including George Fernandes’ re-induction while enquiry is on, the Comptroller and Auditor General report on large-scale irregularities in arms purchases following the Kargil war, and Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO). 

BJP sources said the principal reason for calling truce with the opposition parties was to signal to the nation and the world at large that we are united in this hour of crisis. It was notwithstanding the fact that the BJP MPs were still insisting to get the terrorism ordinance passed by the Parliament at all cost. A senior BJP leader told this correspondent that we made it clear to our leadership that there would be no compromise on the terrorism ordinance because the nation must know what exactly is against it. 

Muslim leadership immediately came out to condemn the attack on Parliament complex. Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind chief Maulana Asad Madani condemned the terrorist strike and said that every form of terrorism should be condemned. Maulana Shafi Moonis of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind told MG that whoever is responsible for this outrageous act should be given severest punishment after full inquiry. Shahi Imam of Delhi Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmad Bukhari also condemned the terrorist strike on the Parliament. He told the MG that he feels very concerned over the fact that the terrorists have now dared to attack Parliament. The mood seen following terrorists strike is rare in Indian politics these days. 

International community has also condemned the attack and has assured all assistance in fighting terrorism. George W Bush, Tony Blair, Putin and others immediately reacted following the attack on the Parliament and assured every assistance in the probe. Pakistani President Perverz Musharraf was first to issue a statement condemning the attack. He has since then asked India to probe the incident jointly. The request was turned down when Vajpayee said in a meeting with the BJP legislators that he was against a joint probe because the incident was an internal matter and the terrorists had links with Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

There are also questions being raised over the security arrangements, especially because the prime minister, home and defence ministers and police officials had said prior to the attack that Parliament may be targeted. The Congress has squarely blamed the government for the terrorist strikes saying that it was the poor security arrangement that allowed the terrorists to infiltrate so far in such a high security zone. Senior Communist leader AB Bardhan, told MG that he never knew that the security arrangements were so poor that the terrorist could so easily infiltrate in most crucial place in the country. 

Meanwhile war clouds are once again emerging on the Indo-Pak horizon. Indian ambassador has been recalled and bus and railways links will be snapped from 1 Jan. More steps are expected.

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