Rajya Sabha debate on Mumbai Terror – Arun Shourie
The point is that not only, Sir, is the finger of suspicion there, but your intelligence reports, I can say from my personal knowledge, because I have reproduced many of them, say, they record, that actually the ISI is now knitting together Indian insurgence extremist groups even in the North East.
Therefore, things are going to get much worse. So, Sir, what should be done, I will now just come to that and these are in a constructive spirit and I do hope that the Government especially the Prime Minister with his knowledge of what had happened in Punjab, he has the firsthand knowledge of what is happening in the
North East, which is a matter of great concern to him because he represents the North East in the House, and, I hope they will be taken in that spirit.
My first point, Sir, is, please stop running to ‘mummy’. This business of putting faith that somebody else will do our work for us, Nobody will do it for the reasons that I have already outlined to you in the case, for example, of America. The same is the case with China. China is the prop of Pakistan. They have a strategy, they say ‘murder with a borrowed knife’, find a natural enemy of your adversary, arm it, encourage it and it will do your job for it. This is what they have been doing on nuclear proliferation or any other matter.
Second point, Sir, is please stop this miscalled peace process because one of the very unfortunate statements that was agreed to by the Indian Government, in this case by the Prime Minister, was terrorists will not be allowed to come in way to derail the peace process. What did this mean — Pakistan then had both options, go on doing terrorist attacks and the onus of keeping the peace process going would remain on India. That is it. Shed this. You know there is always an argument that is made to us when Musharraf was strong, ‘no, no, he is there, he is strong, you have to make some concessions on Kashmir.” When he was weak, ‘no, no, he is your best bet, you must make some concessions to him, and you strengthen him.’ Now there is so-called democracy, you say, ‘Democracy, therefore, you must strengthen democracy, you must make concessions and you must keep the peace process going even as we are badgered everyday.
Sir, third, shed denial. I will tell you, every time in this House from November 2004 there was a debate on internal security, in December 2005, there was a debate and four days before this terrorist attack in Mumbai, the Home Minister was in total denial, “Fortunately, the number of incidents and casualties that have occurred…” Sir, this business is not UPA versus NDA. “Fortunately, the number of incidents and causalities that have occurred in the last fourand- a-half-years are much less than those that occurred in the four-anda- half-years before the present period.” It is BC versus AC, Before Christ versus After Christ.
What consolation is it?
Yet, the impression created is that terrorism has increased and has not reduced. Please contrast that with what has been said just now. “Even if one incident occurs and one person becomes a casualty it should cause us concern and should make us alert. However, it should not demoralise us and give a wrong impression to the uninformed sections of society.” Sir, what about the informed sections? So, shed denial.
The fourth point is, implement it. You have again read out a set of measures. One, on page 3, you have said Coastal command I will say this with complete sense of responsibility and this is what I quoted four years
ago. Now there is a plan to stage things from unoccupied islands. Now, Sir, in Lakshadweep, there are 36 islands. The Godbole Task Force set up in the wake of Kargil in 2000 reported that for all these 36 islands
Intelligence Operation is only on one island, Kavaratti. There, the entire Intelligence gathering is carried out by one inspector, one sub-inspector, one head constable, three constables. For all the other 35 islands,
Intelligence operations are carried out by one constable/head constable. So, after the Mumbai attacks, I contacted the senior most people in Intelligence. They said, Sir, all these people reported to a person called officer-in-charge in Kavaratti. They said it is still one inspector, one sub-inspector, one head constable, three constables, and one constable/head constable reporting now, not to an officer-in-charge but — because of the grace of Pay Commission — he is the same man now re-designated as Deputy Superintendent of Police and it was recorded then, that unidentified helicopters and turbo planes have been
landing in these islands. Are we serious? Now, you are saying that coast guard etc. will be put under this. The Coast Guard-Navy coordination is not good enough. The Coast Guard should be put under the control of the Navy and accountability fixed is a recommendation seven years back. Sir, my suggestion there is, please implement what you have now resolved to do. This business of setting up a Marine Police Force, as you have in the Andamans, for Lakshadweep this recommendation dates back from December, 1996. I am not mentioning UPA or NDA. You can say should we wait for assaults of this kind to be awakened to the things we have not implemented? So, I greatly compliment you, Sir, for the things you have now resolved to do on page 3 regarding the Coast Guard etc. but for heaven’s sake do them.
Fifthly, prepare for the next form of assault. We are always preparing for the last. In all of Chinese literature, which your National Security Adviser keeps referring, they said they have outmoded this kind
of operation. We must get to the acupuncture points of the other society through integrated networks. What are these? Air traffic control, Railway traffic control, power grids, banking transactions, broadcasting
facilities, all are to be done in two minutes through cyber warfare.
My good friend, Mr. Raja, is sitting here. I am very distressed to report to the hon. Prime Minister that the
initiatives that were started, in collaboration with our Defence Forces for setting up of fire walls on our infrastructure and by the Armed Forces for them, have not helped at all. We remain as vulnerable. I would be very happy to be wrong in this when Mr. Raja will assure us. But the fact of the matter is, those who are supplying such software and the work that was being done in the Ministry and the Defence Forces, I feel that country is as vulnerable to that kind of operation by terrorists and, please remember, how sophisticated they are. In this case, they use not just mobile phones, not just satellite phones and they use voice over Internet protocol. Why did they do it? Sir, because it is then difficult to locate the person I am calling. So, they are far ahead in technology. It is now being said that they use GPS. And, it is now established by the best intelligence sources in the world that within the coming five years terrorists will use non-conventional weapons. They use biological weapons, chemical weapons, sub-nuclear weapons in their miniature form, etc. So, please, instead of waiting for the next statement after one of those attacks, review our preparedness. It is my entreat to you,to the hon. Defence Minister, hon. Prime Minister and everybody, please review our preparedness today for those new forms of attacks which will definitely come.
Sir, the sixth one is: Please stop seeing these incidents, whether in Assam or anywhere else, as single discreet isolated incidents. They are part of a sequence for a war of attrition.
That is my seventh point. It is a war. The one strategic thinker in the Sub-Continent who has succeeded — only one –is Zia-Ul-Haq. He was the man, 35 years ago, who identified proxy war to bleed India and break India. He believed in death by thousand cuts. The fact of the matter is, for 35 years, he has kept India busy and bleeding and That is the success of their strategy. So, it is a war. It is a war to break India. These are not discreet isolated incidents.
Sir, the eighth point is: Please do not go by the Joint Statements that their leaders sign with you and with great satisfaction the Home Secretaries exchange with each other. By Mr. Zardari’s new statement, please look at the nature of Pakistani’ State and society. In the Pakistani State the pervasiveness of the ISI, the power of the Army depends only on hostility with India and with successes against India in
these operations. How will they give it up? As far as the society is concerned, Taliban is not the cause of what is happening. Taliban is the result of the Talibanisation of Pakistani society. I have had an occasion
to quote a comprehensive thick study by Pakistani academics of the Institute for Sustainable Development Policy in Islamabad on the instructions given and the textbooks used not only in Madrasas but in
Government schools of Pakistan. From Kindergarten when the child is just 5 or 6 years old the instructions from the Central School of Secondary Education and Primary School Education says that he shall be judged by the fervour with which he gives speeches on Jihad and Shahadat. This is a 200-page report. Please download it and read it. That is the society which you think that you can deflect it with your sweet words.
My point number 9 is that no war can be won with a strategy of permanent defence. You must make
those who control and orchestrate such a war to pay. If you cannot, make them pay individually. Then, you must make the country realise the cost of doing all this to India.
Ten, please realise — this is a point for the liberals also — whenever we are pushed into such a situation we say that but minimal force. But no war is won with minimal force. It is won by overwhelming the enemy. As it has happened in Mumbai now, and 200 commandos only from the NSG were sent, plus
reinforcement, plus naval commandos. That is the scale at which you have to overwhelm. You can’t do it with minimal force. That is why, Sir, when you look at this figure, Not an eye-for-an-eye, not a tooth-for-a- tooth. That is completely wrong. For an eye, both eyes! For a tooth, the whole jaw! Unless India has that
determination and that clarity, we will continue to bleed like this all the time.
Eleven, the time when large armies could be sent across the borders that time has gone. The time when large bodies of armies could be sent across the borders has gone. There are no training camps to bomb. But Pakistan gives us the clue what we should be doing to make them register a cause, that is, look at the violence in Kashmir in the last year-and-a-half that has gone down because Pakistan has been preoccupied in its own problems. So, keep it preoccupied in its own problems in Baluchistan, in Gilgit Baltistan, in PoK.
Then, Sir, my next point, point No. twelve, is shed all inhibitions for collaborating with armies and intelligence agencies of other countries that have expertise in these matters.
Thirteenth point is a very good point that has been made by the Home Minister just now that you are thinking of a National Investigative Agency and of amending and tightening the laws. The Prime Minister
also said this after the Mumbai blasts. I appeal to all sides that please do not make this a prestige issue because, on the one side, investigative agency it will be misused against us, in this way things that are desperately needed by the country will not get timed. I will tell you the way out. It is very good that the Government is thinking on these lines. But the way out is shown by a Congressman- headed commission’s report, that is, the Moily’s Report of Administrative Reforms Commission of June 2008. He has devoted an entire chapter, that is, chapter 4, on dealing with terrorism. It says that clearly there is a felt need to strengthen the hands of security forces in the fight against terror even as human rights and constitutional values are protected. It lists several provisions that are weak provisions, several judgements that are coming in the way. Friends, you will be shocked to learn, many friends there would have forgotten that in the case involving the assassination of no other person than Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the Supreme Court held that it could not be regarded as a terrorist act. And throughout that whole portion none of those provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act could be applied. There are pages and pages that are quoted.
“Terrorism and low intensity warfare have imposed new challenges on law enforcement that we are yet to accommodate even at the conceptual level.” The Report says this. Then, they give many details. “From these it is evident that most countries have been adopting tough anti-terrorism measures, whereas the provisions of similar laws have been diluted in India over a period of time.” “The existing penal laws in India were not enacted to deal with the situation, and, there is ample evidence to indicate that terrorists have been able to escape the law either by exploiting the loopholes in the ordinary law or by intimidating witnesses to subvert justice. There is, definitely, a need to have stringent provisions to deal with terrorists.” It goes on. Sir, it is really worth reading. And, again they have said this. but the changes that were made by the then Home Minister, Shri Shivraj Patil, in the Unlawful Activities Act, 2005 — have
proved to be toothless. And, this is said by the Administrative Reforms Commission also. So, they reviewed all the provisions and they suggested changes. then, it will make sense. And, we will appeal to all States also not to get frightened. So, a thing which is necessary for the country should not be delayed. Please do
these things together. My friend, Shri Arun Jaitley, was just telling me this. But do you know that under the existing laws his confessional statement is not admissible as evidence in the court of law? You can’t then link it with Pakistan. And, that provision was there, but that is why, that was effective.
MCOCA is not in use. That is the next point. But, the law also would not exist because you are not approving it. “What is the use of having a paper soap?”
The next point is, after you pass these laws, after you set up these agencies, please use them. All this is very necessary. Sir, I am heading towards the conclusion.
The next point is this. Actually speaking, terrorism cannot be fought by NSGs and so on. actually, terrorism is fought by the first responder. The Prime Minister said the other day — I remember his statement; it is an odd word to be used, but he said — we cannot fight it unless the constable is brought in the vortex of our counter-terrorism strategy. Constables deficiency above 20 per cent in the IPS officers. Constables Just see the technology these people used and the training that we are giving to the persons who are to fight them. Please remember that IB also consists of these very fellows. What is their training? Their qualification has now been reduced to eighth class. They are barely literate and they are going to meet high technology challenges! What facilities are they given? About 20 per cent of the police constables in Delhi have not been given family accommodation and are living in illegal slums. And we want them to be motivated to fight terrorism! We want to bring them in the vortex of our counter- terrorism strategy. So, you cannot have first-class antiterrorist operations without first-class policing; you cannot have firstclass policing in metropolitan areas without first-class policing in the hinterland; and you cannot have first-class policing in the coastal areas unless the Bangladesh borders open. So, it has to be a comprehensive solution and at all levels. You cannot have first-class counter-terrorism strategies by the NSG and a third-class court system, in which the 1993 accused for the Mumbai blasts have yet to be convicted and their appeals are still in process. Unless we get that kind of a society, it is all a matter of great distress.
Ultimately prosecute lawyers terrorists defend normal procedure How can you fight terrorism in this way?
Sir I am very distressed to report this. all necessary steps have to be taken to gather about these intelligence business. But your own paragraph shows the condition of the intelligence agencies. And worse than that is, as you know, that the civil war which has broken out in the intelligence agencies is in the
Press. Every single day, some agency is feeding information This shows the condition to which intelligence agencies have been brought. But the fact of the matter is that for a country of 1.2 billion people, facing all these threats and actual executions, do you know the operational strength of IB on the field gathering intelligence? It is 3,500 persons. How can you monitor this? And, Sir, the worst thing is but till today the Government has not been able to explain why they have not acted on the recommendations that were
made by the Girish Chandra Saxena Task Force on Intelligence. Sir, various agencies were set up. The multi-agency centre was set up; the National Intelligence Data base was set up; the joint Task Force on Intelligence was set up under the same IB and they remained on paper.
Sir, seven years after these agencies were set up nominally, as new agencies are going to be set up, they remain, to my personal knowledge, merely ‘paper’ organisations. That is why, Sir, I will conclude with my one appeal.
The entire country is with you when you take effective steps. But there has been gross neglect, there has been gross reversal which is evident in many of the things that have happened; and if you act — Buddha’s phrase was ‘with the urgency of a man whose hair are on fire’. If you act with that clarity about the war, if you act with unrelenting determination, then, Sir, the entire country is with you. If not, — Mr. Chidambaram will remember — if you fail to do that, this time it will not be only share prices which will go down, but the country would have been let down and would have been exposed to even greater danger than it is in now today because of things that have happened.
Thank you very, very much for your patience.
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I like the way Arun Shourie thinks. I think we are creating toothless organizations, pretending to talk tough, all of which are meaningless. We must utilize technology to safeguard ourselves. Terrorists know how to use Blackberrys, GPS, sat phones etc to their advantage. We must become smarter than them.
By the time security agencies have to use guns it is too late. We must catch them early with the use of technology.