Following their return from Pakistan, Sarabjit Singh’s relatives have charged that the Sonia-Manmohan Singh Government failed to support them and put no pressure on the Pakistani Government to stop its atrocities. This is consistent with Sonia Gandhi’s decades-long deference to Islamist forces even in the face of the most severe provocation. This weakness has come to haunt India with Chinese squatting on Indian soil and Pakistanis butchering Indians.
Something extraordinary is going on in the dark recesses of 10 Janpath. Sonia Gandhi and her retainers including Manmohan Singh are neglecting vital developments affecting the nation and are seemingly preoccupied with less vital issues like corruption which is nothing new for this administration.
I refer to Sarabjit Singh’s sister Dalbir Kaur’s charge on return from Pakistan that the Indian Government did not support her by putting pressure on Islamabad. Others have also noted this Government’s soft attitude towards Pakistan (and other anti-India outfits) in the face of the most appalling atrocities. Even this is only a symptom of a much deeper malaise.
One can ignore Manmohan Singh who is a voluntary nobody propped up by Sonia Gandhi. He has no mind or spirit of his own, and is but a willing minion of 10 Janpath. So we must look beyond him into those precincts and examine the antecedents of its occupants to decipher this persistent pro-Pakistan, pro-Islamist trend in the Sonia–Manmohan Singh policy.
An examination of her record over the years shows that Sonia Gandhi has never openly criticized Pakistani aggression or even Pakistan sponsored terrorism. This was so even during the Kargil War when she was anything but supportive of the Indian Armed Forces waging a life-and-death struggle against the Pakistani intruders. This is not a new development and Islamist forces have taken advantage of her reluctance to criticize them.
As far back as 2001, within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, the Bin Laden family-founded Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies invited Sonia Gandhi to deliver a lecture. Many found this strange, for the BJP was in power and Mrs Gandhi has no credentials to justify the invitation, other than her willingness to speak. In 2005, I wrote a two-part article for The American Thinker (Sonia Gandhi’s Reluctant War on Terror
The most curious thing about her talk at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies was, I noted:
“In her talk titled ‘Conflict and coexistence in our age,’ Mrs. Gandhi spoke vaguely about extremism and fundamentalism, ‘of all religions’ without once mentioning the word Jihad or terrorism. Mrs. Gandhi has never once uttered the word “Jihad” or mentioned Islamic terror in public even though India is one of the worst victims of Jihadi terrorism. The Telegraph of London called it a ‘strongly pro-Muslim speech.’
“Mrs. Gandhi is not an Islamic scholar – she has not even graduated high school. There was no reason for her to be invited to such a high profile institution, at such an inopportune time (November 2001) except its propaganda value. This proved suicidal for her party in the Gujarat state elections where the Congress was trounced. Adding to her troubles was a terrorist attack on a train that killed scores of passengers, mostly women and children. There again she failed to denounce Islamic terror.”
It was the same story again when on July 5, 2005 (two days before the London bombings). A band of jihadi terrorists armed with grenades and AK 47 rifles attacked a temple complex at the sacred Hindu site of Ayodhya. Thanks to the vigilance and the speedy response of the security forces, all terrorists were killed before they could do serious damage. Still there was a gun battle lasting hours and a soldier was killed, but the intended holocaust of Hindu devotees was averted.
Sonia Gandhi did not outright condemn the terrorist attack. All she did was to issue a weak statement appealing to the people to “stand as a rock against the divisive forces.” As was the case after the London blasts, there was talk of “backlash.” Teesta Setalvad, a Muslim activist close to Mrs. Gandhi, cautioned that the attack on the Ayodhya temple should not be labeled as Jihad. (Sic: Should it be labeled as a Tea Party?) As usual, Mrs. Gandhi did not use the word Jihad.
Her appeasement policy came to the fore again in a human rights case that has drawn international attention. When Imrana, a young Muslim woman was raped by her father-in-law, a self-appointed Muslim body calling itself the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, issued a ruling that the rape had made Imrana ‘impure’ (haraam) and that her marriage to her husband therefore stood annulled. Adding insult to injury, it directed Imrana to leave her husband and live with her rapist father-in-law as one of his wives!
There were protests all over India and the whole world reacted with shock. Salman Rushdie, himself a victim of religious persecution, wrote an op—ed in The New York Times (July 10, 2005) denouncing Islamic courts and the Sharia (Islamic code). (“India and Pakistan’s Code of dishonor,”
In the midst of the storm, Sonia Gandhi refused to intervene or even condemn it. Instead, she directed her government’s law minister HR Bharadwaj, said to be her closest advisor, to issue a statement exonerating the Muslim Personal Law Board, saying that the government could not “interfere” in a religious matter.
So her reaction in the face of Pakistani barbarism is consistent with her record of handling provocations by Islamic outfits with kid gloves. Her conduct in the face of Pakistani atrocities against Indian prisoners is consistent with her decades-old pattern of deference towards provocation by Islamist outfits including Pakistan. It is not something to be seen in isolation.
Clearly her concern for not offending such groups overrides any concern (if she has any) for India’s national interests. The same is true of her son Rahul Gandhi who has been propagating the view that Hinduism represents a greater threat to security than terrorist outfits like the LeT, etc, all the while being protected by security guards who are mostly Hindu. (The same holds for his mother.) But Rahul Gandhi seems to have intellectual deficiencies with no assets beyond birth and (dubious) wealth and is not taken seriously. It is a different matter with Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh.
Sonia Gandhi and her family enjoy security guards provided by the Government. She will lose this protection once the coalition government falls. Has this made her go soft in the face of provocation by Islamic fundamentalist forces? This vulnerability and its potential impact on the global war on terror, not to mention India’s national security, is something all of us need to know and understand.
This cannot be said of Manmohan Singh. At this time in his life he should be thinking about his place in history. Unlike Sonia Gandhi and her family and friends – from Quattrocchi to Robert Vadra – one expects him to be dedicated to India, not to a neo-rich family that has propped him up because he has a supple backbone. He needs to decide how he wants to go down in history – as a national leader or as the domestic minion of a neo-rich family rapidly descending into a cesspool of disrepute and disgrace.
The conduct of Sonia Gandhi in the face of Pakistani atrocities is enough to raise questions about her motives and agenda in India and her attitude towards national security. At the very least she should address the nation and declare unequivocally where she sees her interests lie: in India which has given her everything while getting little in return (other than rapacious friends and relatives) – or appeasing Pakistan and the Jihadi forces that have sworn to destroy India and with it everything Sonia Gandhi has gained.
In the final analysis, no individual is above the nation – or every individual is. National security cannot be sacrificed on the altar of insecurity of a privileged few. India’s enemies are taking advantage of the spinelessness of the Sonia – Manmohan Singh Government. Chinese are squatting on Indian soil while Pakistan is butchering Indian citizens. In the face of this, Sonia Gandhi must stop playing the sphinx; she should come out and spell out her policy on Jihadi terrorism and national security. People have seen enough of her veil of sphinx-like silence and are now beginning to see through it.