Tami Nadu Governor RN Ravi slammed the erstwhile Manmohan Singh-led central government over its soft stand on terrorism, pointing to the period after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai when the UPA government had jointly signed a statement showing Pakistan as a victim of terrorism.
Emphasing on India’s policy of ‘zero tolerance to violence,’ the Tamil Nadu Governor, addressing a session on ‘Contemporary Challenges to Internal Security’ in Kochi on Sunday, said, “When the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks happened, the whole country was traumatised; the country was humiliated by a handful of terrorists. Within nine months of the attacks, our then PM and Pakistan PM signed a joint communique stating both countries were victims of terrorism.”
“Do we have Sathrubodh? Is Pakistan a friend or an enemy? That has to be clear. If you try to be in between, you have confusion,” he added.
In 2008, 10 members of the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba launched a series of ghastly attacks in Mumbai that killed 175 people, including nine terrorists and injuring more than 300. The bombing and shooting spree continued for nearly four days as the attackers captured the iconic Taj Hotel at the Gateway of India, while holding several as hostages.
Hailing India for conducting strikes in Pakistan post the Pulwama attacks, Ravi said, “After Pulwama attack, we hit back at Pakistan in Balakot using our air power. The message was that if you commit an act of terrorism you will have to pay the cost.”
Ravi further said that the internal security situation in India is far better under PM Modi as compared to his predecessor, when a series of terror attacks had rocked Indian cities back in 2009-10.
“During the time of Manmohan Singh, the serious threat to our internal security was the Maoist violence. They had spread to over 185 districts across central India. And people were even talking about the Red Corridor. The situation was alarming. Today, their presence is limited to less than 8 districts and that too at a much-reduced pace,” he claimed.
“If you look at the instances of violence and cause of concern for the national security, you will see that there is a sharp decline. Neutralisation of the terrorists has been possible not because our system has improved dramatically, but largely because of people’s cooperation. People have started rejecting the terrorists and cooperating with the system to normalise the situation.”
Speaking on the security situation in Kashmir, Ravi said, “There is zero tolerance to violence. It may sound harsh but anyone who uses a gun should be dealt with a gun. No negotiation with anyone who talks against the unity and integrity of the country. There have been no talks with any armed group in the last 8 years, if only for surrender.”
“No question, no acceptance. It took time for the message to sink in. In the last 8 years, there has not been one negotiation, no talk with any of the armed groups. If it’s a conversation, it is only for surrendering and rehabilitation, with no political content,” the Governor further stated.
“In Maoist areas, there is an ideology, they don’t believe in Constitutional parliamentary democracy. That’s not acceptable. So there is no question of any negotiation or talk with the Maoists,” he added.
Born in Patna, Bihar, RN Ravi is a retired IPS officer who took charge as the Governor of Tamil Nadu in September 2021. He has previously served as Governor of Nagaland and Meghalaya. He has also served as Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Deputy National Security Advisor and Interlocutor of the India-Naga peace talks.