As the Gujarat Assembly convened for the Budget session here on Monday, the ruling BJP and opposition Congress blamed each other for the terror attacks in the country and condemned the killing of 40 CRPF men in Kashmir’s Pulwama.
While the BJP claimed the “unresolved” Kashmir issue being the root cause of the situation in the state today, the opposition raked up the release of Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar by then BJP government in 1999 in exchange for the passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines’ flight. Masood’s terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the responsibility for the February 14 suicide attack on the CRPF convoy.
Speaking on behalf of the government during a resolution moved to condemn the Pulwama terror attack, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, “This is all because of unresolved Kashmir issue… If consolidation of Kashmir had been left to (then Union Home Minister) Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by Congress leaders… I believe… then today this issue would not have been there. No terrorist attacks, suicides, matrydom of soldiers would have taken place there… But, unfortunately we viewed Kashmir differently and could not get it united with the country. The thorn of which is still hurting in crores of Indian’s hearts.”
Responding to the accusations of the treasury bench, Congress leader Amit Chavda raked up the 1999 Kandahar hijack incident when the BJP was in power at the Centre. “The mastermind behind the Pulwama attack, Masood Azhar, was released in the past. The (BJP) government made him sit in the aircraft and escorted him till Kandhahar (in Afghanistan). If that time strict action had been taken, then these incidents would not have happened,” Chavda said.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaign speech in the run-up to the 2014 election campaign, Chavda said, “Today, people who were assured that in place of one head, 10 heads would be brought (from Pakistan) are seeking answers to these questions. People are now demanding decisive action, not just assurances.”
Speaker Rajendra Trivedi objected to Chavda’s remarks and asked him to stick to paying condolences to the dead CRPF men.
Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani said that while people extended unconditional support to the Centre to fight terrorism, several attacks have taken place on the armed forces in Kashmir in the last couple of years. “There are many other means to acquire power. But when someone tries to break our unity, we all must resolve to give a befitting reply to such elements. Mere talks will not serve any purpose. We have to take decisive steps to eliminate terrorism,” the Congress leader said.
To this, Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said terror attacks have been taking place for over 20 years, while Modi became Prime Minister only five years ago. “The people of this country have full faith in our Prime Minister. Earlier, no country backed us after such attacks. But now, thanks to Modi’s efforts in these five years, around 40 countries have expressed solidarity with us,” the minister said. “Within days of Uri attack, a surgical strike was carried out (across the Line of Control),” he added.
Expressing grief over the death of 40 CRPF men, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “The martyrdom would not go waste. Every drop of blood shed by the jawans would be avenged. Severe anger against Pakistan and terrorists has burst open among every citizen of the country. They are reposing full faith on our armed forces, on our government. Every person wish fight should be taken to the level of face-off. The Union government has started taking definite steps to ensure that there is no terrorist activity on our land; have to observe some patience.”
After the House unanimously passed the resolution condemning the killing of 40 CRPF men in Pulwama, it was adjourned for the day.