The terror attacks in Hyderabad that claimed over 40 lives weighed heavily on the minds of Rajya Sabha members as they returned on Wednesday after a four-day break to celebrate the Onam and Raksha Bandhan festivals.
The agitated members forced a brief adjournment of the house as they demanded an immediate statement from Home Minister Shivraj Patil but it was then agreed that the issue could be raised during zero hour immediately after question hour ended.
Eknath Thakur of the Shiv Sena best summed up the mood of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the other constituents of National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
"Three steps need to be taken immediately. Hang (Parliament attack accused) Afzal today, immediately dismiss the Andhra Pradesh government and restore POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act)."
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Congress-led government had revoked POTA that had been enacted by the previous NDA regime.
However, the opposition alliance found itself countered by Ram Jethmalani, the law minister in the NDA government who is now an independent member, who also took on the government and its intelligence agencies.
Jethmalani maintained that since terrorism went beyond being a question of law and order, the centre was fully empowered to take action and not hide behind the plea that policing was a state subject.
But he also dismissed the NDA plea to restore POTA, saying that, "neither POTA nor any new law will help in curbing terrorism".
Warning that "this occasion is pregnant with dangerous potentialities", he urged members to "eschew party partisanship, stick to the truth and lay the blame where it lies".
Jethmalani reserved his worst for the intelligence agencies.
"Who gets this information (intelligence) in the government and what do they do with this information?" he demanded.