Monday, 30th October 2017

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Rahul’s blunt question on attack

This was was a direct reference to the exploitation of the sacrifice of soldiers for political gain by the BJP

By Sanjay K. Jha in New Delhi
  • Published 15.02.20, 3:25 AM
  • Updated 15.02.20, 3:45 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Rahul Gandhi added: “Why were intelligence inputs ignored? Why was the request to airlift the soldiers not accepted? Why is the report of the investigation not public?" File picture

Rahul Gandhi on Friday asked “who benefited the most” from the Pulwama terror attack as the Congress blasted the Narendra Modi government for its failure to fix accountability for the lapse that killed 40 CRPF jawans on this day a year ago.

Rahul, the MP of Wayanad in Kerala, tweeted: “Today as we remember our 40 CRPF martyrs in the Pulwama attack, let us ask: 1.Who benefited the most from the attack? 2. What is the outcome of the inquiry into the attack? 3. Who in the BJP Government has yet been held accountable for the security lapses that allowed the attack?”

The Congress is usually extremely cautious in dealing with issues related to national security, fearing the BJP’s propensity to project any form of questioning as an unpatriotic act, but Rahul bluntly confronted the government as there seems to have been little progress in the investigation into the attack.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi wove his entire campaign narrative for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections around the Pulwama attack and the subsequent retaliation by India in the form of the Balakot air strike, the government fell silent on the issue after winning a second term.

Rahul’s question about who “benefited the most” from the Pulwama attack was a direct reference to what many see as a brazen exploitation of the sacrifice of soldiers for political gain by the BJP.

The BJP reacted sharply to Rahul’s tweet.

Party spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted: “That was a dastardly attack… and this is a dastardly comment. Who benefited the most? Mr Gandhi can you think beyond benefits? Of course not. This so-called ‘Gandhi’ family can never think beyond benefits. Not just materialistically corrupt, their souls are also corrupt.”

The Congress followed up Rahul’s comment with a social media campaign on the issue, with the party posting a video of Modi asking first-time voters to dedicate their votes to those who died in the Pulwama strike.

Modi succeeded in suppressing every uncomfortable governance issue by hyping up Pulwama and the air strike on Pakistan’s Balakot.

Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala tweeted a fusillade of questions: “Every Indian is proud of Pulwama martyrs. Why can’t the Modi Government tell the names of our brave jawans? Why is the Government not giving details of financial assistance given to families of our bravehearts?

“Why hide the investigation report? What is the Government hiding? Nation wants to know. Questions remain: Why is the report of the Pulwama attack not being made public? Who is accountable? Who brought the 350kg IED? Why were intelligence reports of attack ignored? Did Davinder Singh have any role?”

Jammu and Kashmir DSP Singh was arrested in January from Kulgam in south Kashmir along with two Hizbul Mujahideen militants and a lawyer allegedly operating as an overground worker for terror outfits.

The government hasn’t so far explained how such a huge quantity of explosives made its way to one of the most protected roads in the country — the Jammu-Srinagar highway — and how the car carrying them could penetrate a security convoy of the CRPF.

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said at a news conference: “The nation wants answers for the security lapse. We don’t want a repeat of the Pulwama attack and hence accountability must be fixed. The BJP is always desperate to take credit for national security but who will take responsibility for such a lapse that killed 40 jawans?”

He added: “Why were intelligence inputs ignored? Why was the request to airlift the soldiers not accepted? Why is the report of the investigation not public?

“BJP leaders lined up for a photo shoot with the families of the martyrs before the election but everything is forgotten after the victory. Families are running around for help. Sanju Devi, the wife of jawan Mahesh Kumar who died in the attack, is saying that the promised job and Rs 25 lakh have not been given. The family of another jawan, Kaushal Rawat, has similar complaints. Will the sacrifice of jawans be used only for votes?”