Hyderabad blasts: Does Centre's responsibility end with alerting states, asks Sushma Swaraj

Hydeabad blasts
The twin blasts in Hyderabad dominated Parliament proceedings on Friday with opposition parties and some UPA allies accusing the government of treating terrorism in a very casual manner and attacking Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for what they said was a disappointing statement in the House.

Home must get its house in order

SP and DMK members joined the opposition chorus which called Shinde's statement "totally disappointing" and "devoid of any concrete and meaningful plan of action".

The Rajya Sabha witnessed acrimonious scenes as opposition members insisted on a debate before the home minister's statement.

The house had to be adjourned three times due to the uproar, with things settling down only after Shinde made his statement amid noisy scenes. He said the government would make all effort to nab the perpetrators and the masterminds of the attack.

However, the opposition was unhappy with the statement, and accused the government of treating terror in a "very casual" manner, with BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu saying that the government's policy on terror was confined to "condolence for the dead and compensation for those who survived".

In the Lok Sabha, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj targeted the government saying it was ignoring its responsibility to help states fight terror.

"Given the fact that this event (blast) has come after an event after which all state governments needed to be on alert themselves in the wake of the fact that Afzal Guru was hanged after nine years. there was always a possibility of a reaction in places which we call sensitive or vulnerable locations," Swaraj said.

"The question is whether the Centre's responsibility ended with passing on the alert to states or also involves assisting them.What assistance did you provide to thwart it?" she asked.

Swaraj also wanted to know if there was any connection between MIM MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi's recent hate speech and the blasts. She asked Shinde if he could assure that such an attack would not be repeated in Mumbai or Bangalore.

In the upper house, her counterpart Arun Jaitley said there was a need to "de-politicise" intelligence agencies so that they can focus on national security. "Yesterday's incident is a reminder to us that the war against terror must go on uninterrupted and we expect the home minister to assure us on this," Jaitley said, adding that India should not let its guard down as both state and non-state players across the border were working against the country. Jaitley also asked if the government had taken steps to prevent possible terror attacks after the executions of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru.

The upper house also witnessed a spat between Shinde and Naidu, with the BJP leader telling the minister that had he been serious, he would have rushed to Hyderabad soon after the blasts and come to Parliament in the morning.

When the Home minister retorted that he had gone to Hyderabad at 4 am after monitoring developments through the night, Naidu said, "You have not done any favour to us. You have done your duty. The incident happened at 7 pm yesterday. You should have gone there at 8 pm and come back by the morning. That shows your seriousness".

Taking exception to Shinde's statement that there was no specific information, Naidu said, "What specific information do you want? Do you think people will give you house number and street number? The government is clueless."

SP leader Ramgopal Yadav also took on Shinde, calling his statement very ordinary and totally disappointing. The DMK's T Siva described the home minister's statement as "unsatisfactory", saying it simply listed incidents. Derek O'Brien (Trinamool Congress) dubbed Shinde's statement as "copy-paste", saying it resembled the one made after the 2007 blasts.

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