Thursday, 27 November 2008
Statement by Shri L.K. Advani Leader of the Opposition (Lok Sabha) New Delhi – 27 November 2008
- The terrorist attack on Mumbai is an audacious challenge to India’s Nation State.
- While maintaining calm and unity, we must all resolve to break the back of India’s enemies.
I am traumatized by the events in Mumbai since last night. Clearly, the terrorists have declared a full-scale war on India and sought to sever the country’s economic nerve with their meticulously planned carnage across the metropolis. The magnitude of their sinister design and determination is evident from the fact that they are yet to be fully overpowered. They are still holding people hostage in some leading hotels and private houses more than 12 hours after starting the onslaught on innocent people in various parts of the city.
No other city in our country has borne the brunt of terrorism so repeatedly and in so deadly a fashion as Mumbai. In earlier terrorist acts in Mumbai as well as in other places in India, outside Jammu & Kashmir, the attacks have been mostly in the form of bomb blasts by anonymous persons. For the first time, last night, terrorists have also resorted to indiscriminate firing at a crowded railway station, hospital, luxury hotels, cinema halls, and residential buildings. Also, for the first time, the fidayeen attackers have held foreigners as hostages. As many as 100 persons have been killed in this mayhem.
Last night’s terrorist attack using grenades, other explosives and AK47 rifles is in a very significant way a continuation of the first episode of serial bomb blasts in Mumbai on 12 March 1993.
It appears 26 November 2008 is a continuation of 13 March 1993.
In the context of what has happened last night in Mumbai, there is no doubt that both the UPA Government at the Centre and the CongressNCP coalition Government in Maharashtra have a lot to answer for. However, I shall not comment on this aspect now as today is not the occasion to do so.
Right now, the need of the hour is for the people of Mumbai, Maharashtra and the entire country to stay united and calm. Maintenance of peace, tranquility, communal harmony and patriotic unity must be our highest priority.
I spoke to the Prime Minister last night to express my concern as soon as I heard the news. Today morning he called me to suggest that both of us should travel together to Mumbai to examine the situation, express solidarity with the security forces and also try to provide succour to the victims of the tragedy. I have readily agreed to his proposal. Accordingly, I deferred my plan to leave for Mumbai immediately.
I pay homage to all the brave policemen and police officers who confronted the terrorists by risking their lives. In particular, I feel sad that Hemant Karkare, chief of the AntiTerrorist Squad (ATS), Maharashtra, senior police officers Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar have lost their lives in yesterday’s operation. Coming in the wake of the recent martyrdom of police officer Mohan Chand Sharma in an encounter with terrorists in New Delhi, these acts of dedicated service and sacrifice have earned our security forces the gratitude of the nation.