A day after eight CRPF men were killed in an ambush by militants in Pampore, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh pointed fingers at Pakistan, calling the attack “an act of frustration” and a bid to “destabilise India with cowardly acts”.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who paid tributes to the slain CRPF personnel in Srinagar, said those who carried out the attack were “bringing a bad name to Kashmir and Islam” — a remark that was criticised by the opposition National Conference.
In Bhubaneswar, Parrikar told a convention of ex-servicemen, “In the last one month, over 25 terrorists have been killed by security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. It is an act of frustration on their part to show that they still hold power.”
“This nation has to seek peace. We seek peace, but from a position of strength and not from a position of weakness. I have told jawans that if terrorists attack you, you don’t need to stop; you have all the freedom to retaliate.” Parrikar said he had doubts if the standard operating procedure (SOP) was followed in Pampore.
In Fatehgarh Sahib, at a programme to mark the 300th martyrdom anniversary of warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Rajnath Singh said the Home Ministry will be “sending a committee to Pampore to assess where we went wrong”.
“The cowardly acts from the neighbouring country is a clear effort to destabilise India. They are trying to disturb peace which, of course, will not be tolerated. We are extremely proud of our forces who, fighting like true warriors, killed the militants. But it is extremely sad that we lost eight men,” he said.
And in Ranchi, where he was participating in a BJP programme to mark the anniversary of Emergency, Rajnath Singh said he had given standing orders “not to count bullets once a shot is fired from the other side”.
“We are again being challenged. But we have immense faith in the ability of our defence personnel, paramilitary and police. The country too should never forget their contribution,” he said.
In Srinagar, Mehbooba Mufti slammed the Pampore attack. “In this month (Ramadan), such an attack, where you snatch somebody’s son, somebody’s father, it is highly condemnable,” she said. “There is no outcome of this (violence). Instead Kashmir gets a bad name, and also the religion in whose name it is being done. Tourists had started to come to the Valley. That (tourism) has also received a setback.”
J&K Director General of Police K Rajendra said the militants carried out the attack in “desperation”. “In the last six months, we have neutralised many militants and also eliminated their leadership. To up the morale, they (militants) are doing such desperate acts,” he said.
Responding to Mehbooba’s remarks, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, said, “So @mehbooba_mufti has joined the “Islamic terror” bandwagon after spending years saying terror had no religion. Sad.”
National Conference spokesman Junaid Mattu said: “This is the same Mehbooba Mufti who used to say that terror has no religion. Now suddenly she sees terror as an offshoot of Islam for which Muslims should be ashamed. This is shameful coming from a Chief Minister.”