New Delhi: A day after twin blasts killed at least 16 people and injured 117 others in Hyderabad, all eyes are on an under-fire Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, the man in charge of internal security in the country. Shinde is under fire for several ill-judged statements, with many now asking whether the Home Minister is up to the challenge of tackling terror.
During a debate on India at 9, CNN-IBN's Bhupendra Chaubey asked Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi whether Shinde was a complete misfit as a Home Minister. Singhvi said, ".. please assume that if the Home Minister is to resign for the lust of his blood by the BJP, now tomorrow you are going to have a headless India or the Home Ministry. Our enemies are going to clap. What good is it going to do to you apart from scoring a point
BJP member Sheshadri Chari retorted that it's a waste of time to run after Shinde. Chari said, "This Home Minister, I personally feel, may be a Congressman but he has turned out to be a worst Home Minister."
Security Analyst Bharat Verma said, "Firstly there's a massive contradiction in what Shinde said yesterday and what he said today. Claiming that 5 cities were alerted, I think that's a cover because these are general advisories. You can't really act because they are not specific enough."
Meanwhile, the Home Minister has denied the allegations saying sometimes state governments take intelligence inputs in a lighter vein. He further reiterated that information about a possible terror strike was passed on to states including Andhra Pradesh on February 16. "We will take strongest possible action...The government is taking firm steps. There should not be talk of any politicisation," Shinde said.
The Home Minister said that the government was ready to to go ahead with the creation of proposed apex counter-terror organisation - National Counter Terrorism Centre - but many state governments had opposed the proposal. "We are still ready to go ahead with the NCTC with amendments so that states' rights are not ingressed, but we need to sit down and discuss on NCTC," he said.
Meanwhile, sources on Friday said that Hyderabad was alerted specifically by the Intelligence Bureau and the Union Home Minister about possible terror strikes. A total of three advisories were issued for Hyderabad - two by the Intelligence Bureau and one by the Home Ministry. A general alert to all state police chiefs was also sent last week about impending Indian Mujahideen/ Lashkar-e-Toiba activities.
The alert was repeated to Hyderabad, Bangalore, Hubli, Coimbatore on February 20 and the police forces of the cities had been directed to be on alert about a possible terror strike, sources add. Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who visited the blast site in Hyderabad's Dilsukh Nagar on Friday morning, said, "A general alert had been sounded for all the states, for the whole country, and not a specific area."