India in Distress: Mamata Banerjee’s new book launched (Extract 1)

Chief Minister of Bangla and Trinamool Congress Chairperson Mamata Banerjee’s new book, India in Distress was launched at the Constitution Club in Delhi on March 8.

One of the most powerful women in India today, it was perhaps appropriate that her book was launched on International Women’s Day.

The book is a collection of essays and commentary on contemporary issues, ranging from the sorry state affairs in the nation today to threats to the Constitution, and also asks some direct questions on the Pulwama attack last month.

Extracts from the Trinanool chief’s book were read out at the launch function.

Read the first extract here below:

Extract 1

I remember that on 14th February 2019, I was in Delhi on my way to the Delhi Press Club when I got the news of this very ghastly terrorist attack and I condemned the incident through my tweet at 5.09pm. I felt sad for the loss of the brave jawans and the bereavement of their family members.

Although I could not comment on the incident without knowing the details of enquiry, still many questions were lingering on my mind. I was constantly asking myself how such an incident could happen.

Few facts came before me which led to more questions:

1. It was reported that the Government of India received intelligence input about a week ago that there might be terrorist attack on the convoy movement. Had that input been shared with the concerned officers at an appropriate time, the unfortunate incident resulting in loss of blood of our jawans could have been averted.

2. It came to my knowledge that the Government of India has an institutional mechanism for sharing such intelligence input in an Inter-Ministerial meeting known as J&K (Intelligence) and J&K (Operations), where the Ministries of Home, Defence and External Affairs with the Central Government agencies discuss such inputs and take necessary steps. Was this input discussed?

3. Why the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for convoy movement including sanitisation of the entire route was not followed?

4. Why 78 vehicles were allowed in a convoy movement in a very sensitive zone?

5. Why ‘naka’ checking at the point of barriers on frequent intervals en route was not carried out?

6. It is reported that CRPF had asked for airlifting their jawans, but it was not cleared. Why?

7. Who are responsible for such glaring lapses/ negligence, lack of coordination, etc?

I am constantly asking myself are the jawans and the people of this country safe and secure in the hands of the Government?

(Conclusion, pp. 186-187)