The Congress on Thursday launched a blistering attack on the government over the Pulwama attack and targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for, as the opposition party put it, ‘going soft’ on Pakistan in the joint statement with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
“The Prime Minister appears to have forgotten to mention Pakistan in the statement,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on the joint statement that condemned the Pulwama terror attack but did not mention Pakistan or the Jaish-e-Mohammad which had taken responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack.
The joint statement between PM Modi and the Saudi crown prince “condemns the Pulwama terror attack in the strongest terms” and says that “all countries must renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy”. The statement mentions neither Pakistan, nor the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Referring to PM Modi’s February 18 statement, Surjewala went on to say, “At one time the PM says ‘time for talks with Pakistan is over and now is the time for action’, but then he says ‘India and Pakistan will hold discussions’.” He was referring to the joint statement which states that there is a “need for creation of conditions necessary for resumption of comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan”.
Surjewala said that the PM should have chaired a cabinet meeting on security immediately after the Pulwama attack.
“Instead of being busy with a film shoot in Corbett national park, he should have been holding a cabinet meeting on security,” Surjewala said.
“At 3.10 pm when the Pulwama attack took place and was all over the news, PM Modi was shooting for a film till 6.45 pm in Corbett national park. For 4 hours after the terror attack, PM Modi indulged himself in a film shoot, went on boat rides and had his tea and samosas,” Surjewala said.
He also questioned why the PM had not announced a national mourning in honour of the deceased CRPF jawans.
“From February 14, we mourned for our slain soldiers and stayed silent in honour of their sacrifice. Unfortunately, PM Modi’s thirst for power has today made him forget his humanity and play politics on our soldiers’ martyrdom,” Surjewala said.
He also accused the PM of tardiness in paying homage to the deceased jawans.
“On February 16, 2019, when the soldiers’ bodies were lying at the airport, the PM reached an hour late to pay his homage. Upon his return from Jhansi, where he had gone for political campaigns, the PM first went to his home and then came to the airport to pay his respects. He made the soldiers wait,” Surjewala said.
Surjewala also criticised PM Modi for having gone to South Korea.
“At such a sensitive time, if the PM is travelling abroad, it shows how wrong the priorities of the Modi government are,” he said.
Raising a series of questions, Surjewala asked the PM was not taking responsibility for the failure of the NSA, the home minister and the intelligence apparatus in preventing the Pulwama attack.
He also questioned how the suicide bomber who attacked the CRPF convoy had got hold of hundreds of kilos of RDX and how the vehicle was allowed to carry such a huge amount of explosives through the security.
Questioning the PM on why the CRPF jawans were not airlifted to Srinagar as had been asked for, Surjewala asked why a video released by the Jaish-e-Mohammad warning of the attack was ignored.
He also accused other BJP leaders such as Sakshi Maharaj and union tourism minister KJ Alphons for their conduct towards the deceased soldiers.
Waving a photograph of Sakshi Maharaj at the funeral of one of the killed jawans, Surjewala said, that the Sakshi Maharaj was smiling at the funeral procession. “This is not the place where smile and ask for votes,” Surjewala said.
He also criticised tourism minister KJ Alphons for having taken a selfie with the coffin of one of the deceased soldiers.