Digvijaya Singh: We lost Indira, Rajiv but never compromised on terror


Asserting that Congress never compromised on terrorism, senior party leader Digvijaya Singh on Friday attacked the BJP for faltering with national security by releasing JeM chief Masood Azhar in 1999 in Afghanistan.


While discussing the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 in the Upper House of Parliament, Singh said, “We doubt their (BJP) intent. Congress never compromised on terrorism that is why we had brought this law. It is you who compromised on terror, once during the release of Rubaiya Saeed ji and second by letting off Masood Azhar.”

“We lost Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Beant Singh. But, we never compromised on terrorism,” he said.

Singh was referring to the release of Azhar by the then BJP government in exchange of hostages of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999. The plane was hijacked during its flight from Kathmandu to Delhi and was taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Continuing his tirade against BJP, the Congress leader said, “We doubt your intentions of fighting terrorism. You said that demonetisation will end terrorism…You are heaping praises on Nathuram Godse, who was the first terrorist in independent India. How can we believe you?”

Taking a dig at Home Minister Amit Shah, who was present in the House, Singh said that the party fielded a terror-accused as a candidate, referring to Pragya Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon blast case.

“The BJP president (Shah) makes them candidates even as they are still facing charges of terrorism,” he said.

Singh accused BJP of deviating from the party’s slogan of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ (with all, for everybody’s development and having everyone’s trust), saying that their ideology is “divisive” and “not inclusive”.

“The Prime Minister says ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’. If you had accepted some of the amendments from my side on the Triple Talaq Bill, then there would be trust among Muslims. In this country, the level of trust has gone down. You are creating differences among Hindu and Muslims. We do not believe you at all,” he said.

The Rajya Sabha on Thursday took up the UAPA Bill after rejecting opposition’s demand to not extend the sitting of the Upper House beyond the scheduled time for the passage of the contentious Bill that designates an individual as a terrorist. Minister of State G Kishan Reddy moved the Bill rejecting the opposition’s demand.

The Bill has already been cleared by the Lok Sabha on July 24.

It seeks to further amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, empowering the central government to designate individuals as terrorists if the person commits or participates, promotes or involved in acts of terrorism.

Under the existing laws, the government could only designate organisations, and not individuals, as terrorists.

The Bill also empowers the Director-General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the agency.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)