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PUNJAB CONGRESS president Captain Amarinder Singh Monday called for “an eye-for-an-eye” action against Pakistan for the Uri terror attack early Sunday that left 18 dead and 70 injured.
During an Idea Exchange programme at The Indian Express office, Amarinder said the government should shun the “appeasement business” and get down to retaliation. He also sought an inquiry into the attack.
“We do not ask them to declare war but I believe in the old system of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. If Pakistan kills your 10 soldiers, you kill their 20. Something has to be done. Otherwise, you will demoralise your forces, the country will ask you questions. Enough is enough,” said Amarinder.
“This business of appeasement is not going to resolve anything. I think we are encouraging these sort of things by saying we are all for peace. This is not the job of the Army to do. Unless you break the backbone of terrorism in Kashmir, nobody would come to negotiate with you,” he said.
At the same time, Amarinder demanded an inquiry into so many killings. “There has to be a thorough inquiry into why this happened. For one battalion to have lost 17 and 70 wounded, out of which 34 critically wounded, 10 of them may not survive because they are badly burnt. They shot an anti-tank grenade into a petrol dump. Grenades are not very effective and everyone dying of grenade is not the case.
Here in this case [referring to Uri attack] these were highly motivated guys who had come across that very night and early morning they carried out the strike. Our two battalions, 6 Bihar and 10 Dogras, were changing hands. But that does not mean you let your guard down. We have changed hands so many times before. You maintain your alertness all the time. The duty was of 10 Dogra to hold till the time 6 Bihar had not shifted in. I think an inquiry needs to be done from that angle. This is the biggest number of our personnel ever from a battalion that we have lost in an attack ever since Independence.”
Defending the Army, Amarinder said: “I know this belt very well, it is a very highly fortified belt. We have got posts there which are really blistering with weapons, they have all these names like Santra, Malta. Then there is wire stretching across the border. Army cannot defend every inch of the ground. It is the aggressor who always has the advantage, and he cuts through the wires. It was a base of the battalion. The base must be defended.”
Stating it was his individual stand being a Punjabi, Amarinder said, “I do not know what stand my party is going to take. I am saying it purely as a Punjabi, as somebody interested in security of the state because we have common borders too. And we have been through this for 25 years. I do not want this to happen again. As a soldier I say this that they will have to be taken to task.”
Calling for the need to take the Army into confidence, Amarinder said, “Certainly, the Army Chief would have solutions. The Prime Minister must have discussed it at that level. We have special force battalions, we have gallantry soldiers. It should be that if they kill 10 of ours, we should kill 20 of theirs. It should come down to that. That is the only answer. Israel does it. It’s time we also started retaliating.”
On the issue of sharing of waters by Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL), Amarinder said if the Supreme Court’s decision would not be in favour of Punjab, the party MLAs will resign enmasse and seek mandate again on the issue.
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“Since the Supreme Court bench was going to retire on November 30 and the final decision was expected by then, if the judgment goes against us, which is likely, we will all quit and force a fresh election. We will go back to the House and we will bring about another law to protect our interests. We will do it constitutionally. We will not do a morcha like Mr (CM Parkash Singh) Badal does all the time. We have protected Punjab for 12 years.” he said.
Justifying his stand, Amarinder said “the fact of the matter is there is something called Riparian Principle that only those states have the right to water from where the natural flow goes, the basins. They have not even looked at that and the arguments are not on that. That is what we insist on. Whether it is Canada or America or anywhere in the world, Riparian Principle is the way. Even the world court has upheld that in dispute between America and Canada. We want it to be done on basis of Riparian Principle. If that is the case then the Sutlej water is not Riparian to Haryana.”