Congress MP Manish Tewari in his book has given details about how the Congress tried to put forth its viewpoint in the media and replaced the then Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed with Tewari in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.
In his book, Tewari said he got a call from Ahmed Patel, the then powerful political secretary of Sonia Gandhi, who asked him to brief the media as the operation to neutralise the terrorists was ongoing.
As per Tewari Patel said, “Manish brief the media in the evening.”
He replied, “Sir about what,” and Patel said, “about what is going on in Bombay.”
Tewari replied that Shakeel Ahmed, the then MoS Home, was supposed to do a press conference and Patel said, “That is why we do not want him to brief because its an evolving situation, we do not think it is appropriate for a government functionary to say anything that could be taken out of context.”
Tewari says that he did not have any role in the replacement which was being related to Shakeel Ahmed by some reporters that he was a Muslim so he was being replaced with Tewari.
Tewari said he was of the opinion that a Muslim would have been more suitable to brief the media and give a befitting reply to the Pakistani propaganda.
However when IANS contacted Shakeel Ahmed he said, “I do not remember any such thing and will only comment after reading the book.”
Congress MP Manish Tewari’s book “10 Flashpoints: 20 years – National Security Situations That Impacted India”, in which he stirred up a row by stating that the then UPA government should have acted in the wake of the 26/11 attacks, was released by former National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon on Thursday.
During the panel discussion after the release, Tewari, seeking to play down his stand, said: “It is my personal opinion that kinetic action should have been taken, but I am not judging the action taken by the UPA government then.”
He said the government in its wisdom would have taken steps that would have been appropriate, but should have taken into consideration the efficacy of steps taken against the non-state actors.
He also asserted that the UPA lost the perception battle as lack of action was considered a weakness by Pakistan.
Tewari had questioned the UPA-1 government’s inaction after the Mumbai attacks.
“For a state that has no compunctions in brutally slaughtering hundreds of innocent people, restraint is not a sign of strength; it is perceived as a symbol of weakness. There comes a time when actions must speak louder than words. 26/11 was one such time when it just should have been done. It, therefore, is my considered opinion that India should have actioned a kinetic response in the days following India’s 9/11,” he said in the book.