Replying to a question on missing Indians in Iraq in Lok Sabha yesterday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in a rhetoric and emotive best tried to explain as to why she refused to declare 39 Indians stranded in Iraq, as dead (or as to why she keeps declaring them as alive).
According to her, she did so because she refused to take the sin of declaring 39 Indians dead in Iraq. Although not specifically asked, the External Affairs Minister also seemed to silence all those people who may be blaming her(as a minister) of misleading the Parliament and the people, all this while.
The accusations of misleading the people came after, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim-Al-Jaafari, who was in India on July 24, 2017, said,
there was “no absolute proof” that the 39 missing Indians were ever in Badush jail, adding that his government was still searching for them as there was no evidence of their death either.
To make all such accusing voices silent, Ms. Swaraj spoke extensively in Lok Sabha yesterday, about why she refuses to take the sin, even today. The central thread of the reply was that since she is not sure whether the 39 Indians in Iraq are dead or alive, hence her conscience doesn’t allow her to declare them dead.
Good for her.
As far as the refusal to take the sin is concerned then who can argue that. But whether Sushma Swaraj is Duty Bound to be weary of sin is a question to be asked.
What about integrity. As a Minister and a parliamentarian, a person’s duty is to keep the integrity intact (integrity is being honest and having strong moral principles). The oath of the Office and that of a parliamentarian speaks more about the integrity of this kind than about some other worldly sin.
Her reply may seem very reasonable to some, but we are not talking about being reasonable here. We’re talking about the consistency in her replies on the issue, ever since 2014. From the news reports published in the past 3 years, it’s amply clear that all this while she was telling the Nation that the 39 Indians stranded in Iraq are alive. If all this while she was uncertain about their fate, then instead of telling the Nation that they are alive; she would have told us that she’s uncertain (not sure). As a minister her first allegiance is towards Truth.
No one can categorically say what benefit she would have derived by NOT communicating the situation “as it is”. By not communicating the situation “as it is”, she might have gained a reputation and competence that of a savior, for her and her party led Government. But even if we assume that she gained nothing from NOT communicating the situation “as it is”, still she kept the Nation at large in dark by not doing so.As a Minister and a Parliamentarian, she’s duty bound to say things as they are.