Displaying a not so unusual act of irresponsibility that some of our politicians are known for, the Union Minorities Affairs Minister Mr A R Antulay expressed doubt about the actual cause behind the death of the slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare. In an attempt clearly aimed at pampering the emotions of the minorities, Antulay said he was not sure whether Karkare was really a victim of the terrorists’ bullets, or was it something else that caused his death. Antulay highlighted Karkare’s association with the Malegaon blast probe – which had made the deceased draw fierce criticisms and anger from the various right wing Hindu groups – and hinted at the possibility of a larger conspiracy (read the hand of Hindu groups) behind the death of the brave officer.
Mr Antulay is the latest example of how low our politicians can stoop to show “loyalty” to their vote banks. While trying to appease his minorities vote bank, Mr Antulay clearly forgot what a serious damage his remark can inflict on India’s current diplomatic offensive against Pakistan. The Pakistani media is sure to give a huge coverage to this remark (highlighting it as a remark made by a senior minister), thereby giving the Pakistani government an effective tool to counter India’s charges and allegations at least to some extent. The Pakistani government is very much likely to use this remark to distort the facts behind the Mumbai terror attacks, even trying to give a completely false colouring to the entire issue.
What the irresponsible minister deserves is an immediate expulsion from the Ministry, so that it can send a strong message to the other members of the Ministry. However, in case he is expelled (which is least likely to happen), the Pakistani media will try to highlight it as the distress of a Muslim minister of India, who has been made to suffer for telling the “truth”. Therefore, Mr Antulay’s expulsion is not a good option. However, the government is well advised to ensure no other minister embarrasses the nation by making similar remarks.