A script gone awry

Between the Fourteenth of February when serial bombs rocked Kovai and now, which is roughly about three months, Tamilnadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi has done several somersaults on the issue. While in the immediate aftermath of the blasts the CM ruled out the possibility of Advani being the target of the attack, he has now veered round to the ‘truth’ that the BJP leader was indeed the intended victim. Similarly, when the human bomb theory sounded quite credible, the CM took pains to discount it. A police official was even given a memo for venturing to speculate on that possibility. But now the CM has again stated in the Assembly that it was surely a human bomb, and not one but three.

Ever since the blasts and even before, it was a well documented common knowledge that Muslim fundamentalist outfits were on the prowl looking for plum targets to strike terror. Successive warnings by political parties and media and red alerts by intelligence agencies on the plans of the terrorists detailing even the intended date of attack failed to disturb the feigned slumber of the State government, which did precious little to act on them. If such criminal, culpable negligence was not enough, the CM went on to rub salt to injury by wondering that it may be the handiwork of some of his political opponents. He even went on to proclaim that he would not hesitate to take action against the perpetrators, whether they belonged to the majority or the minority. It was evident where his sympathies lay for it was no secret who the perpetrators were and where they belonged.

Yet the CM would not name them. But now he does it, and repeatedly as if to compensate for his initial indiscretion, which was necessitated by the imminence of the polls. All through his election campaign, though he had mustered the courage to ‘hint’ at the possibility of a section of a particular community being involved in the blasts, still his heart bled for the offenders. He sought to and continues to, reason that but for the Babri Masjid demolition, all those who are now roaming the streets of TN with bombs and secrets about the bombs, on their person, would have all remained just lambs. And that such tame creatures as those who bombarded Kovai did so only out of an upsurge of ‘righteous indignation’ at the demolition. The very rational CM even reasoned on what the majority community would do if some one were to pull down the Thanjavur Temple.

When allegations were levelled about the negligence of the State government despite being in the possession of prior knowledge about the schemes of the terrorists, the CM put up a brave defence that all such warnings were duly considered and appropriate precautions initiated. He poohpoohed claims that his government had deliberately ignored the red alerts for considerations of electoral gains.

But what does he himself concede now? The whitewash of a White Paper details the various red alerts given to the State government which were promptly passed on to the CoP of Kovai. In short, the CM has simply passed the buck to the police department on an issue of such immense ramifications on national security and seeks to wash his hands off any responsibility for the lapse. While after the blasts he denied that there was any lapse, now he agrees that there were indeed some lapses, but those were at the police level and that he as a Chief Minister had done his duty, by ‘tipping’ off the CoP. The CM must try telling that to his Police Minister, probably across a full size mirror.

And of course there is the typical parting kick. Our rational Chief Minister who respects his self a lot, does not also forget to take credit, even in a tragedy. If his averments are to be believed, Advani is alive today because of the protection given by the DMK government which was on par with that extended to the Prime Minister! We are tempted to ask, why the ruling party did not think it fit to ensure the same level of safety to the unfortunate 60 who perished and the scores of corpses, who create those leaders and Prime Ministers, but that is besides the point. The point is that till the CM enlightened us on Advani’s fresh lease of life, we had all along believed that it was providence in the form of a delayed flight that really saved the BJP leader! But then curse us, we are not as rational as the CM.

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Jawahar T R