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Debate on terrorism goes astray

Special Correspondent

YSR, Naidu exchange words; Akbaruddin’s remarks lead to bedlam

PHOTO: P.V. SIVAKUMAR

B. Dattatreya, State BJP chief, with his party MLA G. Kishan Reddy, who staged dharna on Thursday. —

HYDERABAD: The Assembly witnessed a deeply fractured debate on the issue of tackling terrorism as the major parties firmly stuck to their time-worn positions, a day after the city witnessed the attack on policemen by a terror suspect on Wednesday.

The attack itself received brief attention during the five-hour-long debate as several leaders marshalled their lung power and facts to ‘expose’ the poor track record of rival parties in controlling factional and communal violence and investigating terror incidents. As a result, the debate meandered from the violent disposition of a small-time factional leader in Pulivendula to the demolition of the Babri Masjid, though, paradoxically, members said they wanted a united fight against terrorism

Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) used the occasion to score brownie points against each other. Mr. Naidu quoted former Chief Minister M. Channa Reddy as saying in 1990 that it was Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy who hired men from Kadapa and Vijayawada to stoke violence in the old city, leading to the death of 300 persons on a single day. Dr. Reddy retorted by accusing Mr. Naidu of fielding his father’s killer against him in the 2004 elections.

The division among members was so deep that they just stopped short of exchanging blows. This happened after MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi, in an emotion-charged speech, condemned Wednesday’s attack but quoted the Police Commissioner as saying that the case against Vikar Ahmed pertained to possession of jehadi literature and that he had never described him as an ISI agent.

He launched a trenchant attack on the TDP leaders by questioning why they did not heed to their conscience when they continued to support the NDA government after violence against Muslims in Gujarat. He said that the demolition of Babri mosque gave birth to terrorism in the country and asserted that Islam was against terrorism. His remarks attracted a sharp reaction from the Opposition parties.

House adjourned

When M. Hanumanth Rao (TDP) repeatedly gesticulated to MIM members, Afsar Khan moved menacingly towards TDP benches, forcing K. Srihari and others to intervene and prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn. As things threatened to go beyond control, Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy adjourned the House for 30 minutes. BJP member G. Kishan Reddy staged a dharna outside his chamber demanding Mr. Owaisi’s arrest for his alleged inflammatory speech.

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