The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Unfortunate & unjustified: BJP

New Delhi, March 20: The BJP described it as “unfortunate” and “without justification”. The Samata Party, its ally, demanded an immediate meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Congress and the Left deplored the move.

As America fired its Tomahawk missiles at Iraq, strong reactions poured in from across the political spectrum, though the BJP was cautious with its words.

“Ask the government,” snapped BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu, asked if his party condemned the attack and whether it would ask the government to condemn it. On what the government’s stand should be, he said: “Any decision taken should be guided by national interest and peace in the international arena.”

The Samata, defence minister George Fernandes’ party, said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee should talk to Nam chairman, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, and get a meeting convened immediately to discuss “this gravest threat to democracy” in international relations.

The Congress deplored the US move. Spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy said “the decision to go to war tramples upon the United Nation’s charter, denigrates the Security Council, flouts international law, does grave injury to the concept of national sovereignty and sets dangerous… precedents”. Later, when a reporter sought Sonia Gandhi’s reaction saying the party statement was a bit mild, she said “it was strong enough”.

The CPM and the CPI condemned the attack. Both asked the government to categorically condemn the aggression and said India should not extend any facility to the US for any war-related moves.

“The leadership of the US and Britain will have to bear the full responsibility for the lives lost and the devastation caused to Iraq. History will not forgive them for this crime,” the CPM politburo said in a statement.

“Defying worldwide opinion and failing to get the sanction of the United Nations, Bush has embarked upon an act of war which is criminal and unjust on all counts,” it added.

Samata spokesperson Shambu Shrivastwa said the Centre should play a “more proactive role”. Describing the attack as “most unfortunate” and “deplorable”, he said it heralded the end of the UN and posed the most serious threat to the current international order. “This takes us back to the might is right days which will only lead to further anarchy,” he said.

Naidu said the US action is “unfortunate and we feel that it was without justification as it was outside the resolution of the Security Council”. He said the party was concerned about the safety of the people of Iraq and “we hope this war comes to an early end”.

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