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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Restraint seems an alien concept

Sensitivity and circumspection are clearly not the hallmarks of many of our politicians. Shakeel Ahmad’s remark after the Bangalore blast sadly politicises a human tragedy.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2013 22:20 IST

Hindustan Times

Sensitivity and circumspection are clearly not the hallmarks of many of our politicians. And Congress national spokesman Shakeel Ahmad’s remark that the Bangalore blast near the BJP office would profit the party electorally is proof, if any were needed, of this.

Mr Ahmad did not wait for the police or any other investigative agency to say anything before wading into it much to the chagrin of the BJP. It did not strike Mr Ahmad to say a few words of solace to those injured, rather he chose almost as a Pavlovian response to make political capital out of the situation.

We can now expect politics to take over and obscure the fact that there has been so much human suffering.

But Mr Ahmad is not alone in this unpardonable propensity to make completely unsubstantiated and needless remarks after violent incidents. After the Delhi court blasts, almost instantly several politicians deduced that this was the handiwork of Islamic extremists.

After the blasts in Hyderabad, politicians were quick to jump in with all sorts of theories to the point of accusing an entire community as being guilty for the nefarious deed.

Such remarks are susceptible to being misused to whip up sentiments and inflame passions. Comparisons are odious, but both after the horrific 9/11 terror outrage and now the Boston marathon attack, the US authorities displayed remarkable restraint. It would be easy to make allegations that this could be the handiwork of one or other outfit, but no one in a position of authority has so far hazarded even a guess.

It really betrays the cynicism of Mr Ahmad that he should have thought it fit to suggest that the blast could translate into votes for the BJP. Already, there is speculation that this blast bears the signature of an Islamic terror group though there is no concrete evidence to suggest this.

We can now expect the whole unfortunate episode to be overtaken by political acrimony. The more worrying thing should be how the explosion could have taken place in an area which presumably has a high degree of security given that the BJP office is situated there. Karnataka is due for elections soon and irresponsible remarks have the potential to create an incendiary situation.

Mr Ahmad must be reprimanded sharply for his unacceptable remarks. If politicians were able to discern the perpetrators of and motives for terror attacks, then we would not really need the plethora of investigative agencies we have or indeed the police force.

It should be only when all the forensics have been done and a conclusion reached on the provenance of the attack that politicians should make remarks. And then too, they should be careful that what they say is not misunderstood as a licence to pillory any community or group.

Mr Ahmad’s remarks clearly suggest that politicians are not averse to rushing in where most people fear to tread, and almost always with disastrous consequences.

First Published: Apr 17, 2013 22:15 IST

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