Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Rajya Sabha Thursday that the terrorists behind the Gurdaspur attack had “infiltrated from Pakistan”. While he vowed an “effective and forceful response”, Singh’s statement was drowned out by Congress members shouting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, triggering a war of words between the government and the main opposition party.
“The preliminary analysis of GPS data indicates that the terrorists had infiltrated from Pakistan through the area near Tash in Gurdaspur district, where the Ravi river enters Pakistan. It is also suspected that the same terrorists planted five IEDs on the railway track near Talwandi village between Dinanagar and Jhakoladi which were subsequently defused,” said Singh, reading out a two-page statement on the July 27 attack in Gurdaspur.
“Any effort by the enemies of our nation to undermine India’s territorial integrity and security or imperil the safety and security of our citizens will meet an effective and forceful response from our security forces. The government has been and will remain resolute in this regard,” he said.
The Congress, which has been protesting in Parliament over the Lalit Modi and Vyapam issues, said there should be a full-fledged discussion on terrorism, ending with a reply by the Prime Minister, after the current standoff ends. With the Congress members shouting slogans like “Narendra Modi hai hai”, “56 inch ki chhati hai hai”, “NDA government hai hai”, the House was adjourned for the day.
At one point, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien was heard saying, “This is terrorist attack.
There is no politics in it. Why do you bring politics in this?”
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was quick to attack the Congress. “It is overwhelmingly conclusive that the terrorists have come from across the border. It’s an issue that has to be discussed. Instead of giving priority to the issues related to national security, the Congress indulged in petty politics,” Jaitley told reporters later. “At least they (Congress) should have spoken in one voice on an issue like national security. We expect the Congress to review its negative and irresponsible behaviour,” he said, adding that the party’s leadership had “failed the test”.
The Congress accused Jaitley of unnecessarily politicising the issue. The party’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, said the opposition did not want to listen to just an account of the terrorist attack.
“The issue of terrorism is much bigger… The House condemned the attack in the morning and observed silence. To say that the House was not united is misleading… As far as the home minister’s statement is concerned, the entire opposition in the morning meeting said a discussion should take place, but later not today… because the funeral of A P J Abdul Kalam was on. It is the government which broke the consensus… We didn’t expect the government would insist on a debate today itself,” said Sharma.
“There was no need for the government to push the statement which would necessitate a discussion at a time when the Prime Minister has not responded to opposition demands… It would have been advisable to have a consensus on the discussion… We are very clear that the country has still been kept in the dark by the Prime Minister as to what were the assurances given by Pakistan that he agreed for talks with Pakistan Prime Minister and what transpired in those discussions,” he said.
“The only version that India has is the joint statement at Ufa which unraveled even before the PM returned to India and other versions coming from the Pakistani officials… It would therefore only be correct, against this backdrop and particularly after the attack in Gurdaspur, that the Prime Minister comes and informs the House about his talks at Ufa… You cannot have this approach and trivialise it and then expect the opposition not to demand the PM to come and respond,” he said.