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Unrest over US-line
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

The terrorist strikes in New York city and Washington have generated great sympathy for the victims and the USA in the country. Around six thousand people are estimated to have perished in the deadly strikes on the twin towers of World Trade Centre in New York and Pentagon in Washington DC on 11 September.

But everyone is not supporting the over-enthusiastic reaction of the Indian government over the question of offering assistance to the United States if it decides to launch a military strike against Afghanistan where the alleged mastermind of the attack, Osama Bin Laden, is living.

The unconditional support extended by the government of India for the planned attack on Afghanistan has come in for sharp criticism from all corners. The home minister LK Advani and the external affairs minister Jaswant Singh have extended unconditional support to the US and have announced to provide logistic support to the US troops if it attacks Afghanistan. Indian intelligence agencies have reportedly provided important clues on Afghanistan and terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as in the Pak-occupied Kashmir (POK).

Voices of dissent on extending unconditional support to the US for attacking Afghanistan are not coming from Muslim organizations and communist parties alone, even several NDA allies as well as various cabinet ministers of the BJP-led government have expressed their reservations about the issue. Several key ministers at the centre have said that India should not be seen as kowtowing the US. Senior NDA leaders are dissatisfied at what they see as Jaswant Singh’s jumping the gun by offering help even before it became clear what the US was offering India in return.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a senior BJP leader, told this correspondent that though we should fight terrorism but we should not blindly follow US wishes. He said that though we have also been facing the menace of terrorism the US never came to our rescue.

Sitaram Yechuri of the CPIM said that the way India is blindly following the US dictates on its proposed Afghanistan invasion is humiliating. He says that our response to the impending US terror strikes has been full of wickedness. He told this correspondent that even when the US had not expressed any desire or need for India’s help, Vajpayee government went about making announcements to offer complete military and logistic support to the US military operation in the region. He said that it shows immaturity and lack of understanding in the BJP leadership.

Syed Ahmad Bukhari, the Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi told MG that though he feels very sympathetic towards the victims of the 11 September terrorist strikes, he is totally opposed to the invasion of Afghanistan as planned by the US. Maulana Bukhari said that the planned attack on Afghanistan is totally uncalled for as neither the role of Osama nor that of Taliban has been established in the strikes. He added that he had talked to Prime Minister AB Vajpayee and conveyed to him the feelings of the Indian Muslims on the issue. He said that he told the prime minister that India should not be made a base for US strikes against Afghanistan. He added that the US follows double standards about atrocities carried out by Israel against the Palestinian people. He said that the US itself will be committing a grave terrorist act if it attacks Afghanistan to nab Bin Laden without any proof.

Maulana Farooq Khan, a renowned Islamic scholar, told MG that it will be repeating the same mistake if the US decides to launch strikes against Afghanistan. He said that the US should not be carried by anger and frustration arising out of the terrorist strikes. He said that it should look for substantive proofs against the culprits and then only should act. On the question of support to the US on strikes against Afghanistan, Maulana Farooq Khan said that our government has over-reacted on an issue that hardly concerns us. He said that the terrorist strikes in the US have nothing to do with India.

A senior SIMI official told this correspondent that he feels aggrieved over the loss of lives of so many people in the US in the terrorist strikes, but it is the first time when the US is reaping fruits of its own deeds. He said that it is the US that has been giving life support to the oppressive Zionist regime of Israel which occupies Palestine territory and kills and terrorizes the whole Palestinian population. He said that he is totally opposed to any Indian support to the US invasion of Afghanistan. He added that the US anger against Afghanistan is incomprehensible as Afghanistan is not involved in the terrorist strike.

Maulana Sirajul Hasan, Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, has expressed his sorrow over the loss of life and destruction following the terrorist strikes in the US. He said that every form of terrorism should be condemned. He added that the incidents should be probed before taking any punitive measure against any one.

Meanwhile the government of India seems to be distancing itself from its earlier stand when it offered every assistance to the US. Changing its stand on supporting the military action in Afghanistan the government has asked the US and other countries to tackle terrorism at its roots rather than focus on Osama Bin Laden alone.
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