EMBARRASSED OVER the Afzal controversy, the Congress on Saturday rejected the BJP charge that it was ‘soft’ on terror, asserting that it has always been against the menace and paid the price for it more than anyone else.
AICC media department chairperson Janardan Dwivedi also downplayed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s plea for mercy to Mohammad Afzal Guru, facing execution in the 2001 terror attack on Parliament.
He said that the main Opposition should realise that it was not Azad alone, but all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have made such a plea including the National Conference, which was till recently part of the NDA.
“There has been well laid down Constitutional procedure in such matters.... There is a verdict of the court and the matter is for the President to decide. Congress cannot comment anything on such issues”, he said.
He dismissed as “simply deplorable and illogical” the charge that Congress was playing “politics of appeasement” on the issue.
Accusing the UPA government of fighting terrorism with kid gloves, the BJP alleged that it had also fallen prey to the designs of Pakistani president Gen Parvez Musharraf.
“The Central Government led by Congress has not taken stringent measures to deal the menace of terrorism in the country but has adopted such measures which have rather demoralised the security forces,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters at Jammu.
“That the Congress party had made Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) as an election issue to woo the voters during 2004 parliamentary polls and getting it repealed
later is the first indication that the party is soft towards handling terrorism in the country,” he said adding had the party been serious it could have brought any other legislation to effectively check the scourge.