Pulwama attack: Gross security failure, says Congress, gets surgical strike’s Hooda to head panelhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/pulwama-attack-gross-security-failure-says-congress-gets-surgical-strikes-hooda-to-head-panel-5595568/

Pulwama attack: Gross security failure, says Congress, gets surgical strike’s Hooda to head panel

The Congress alleged that the Prime Minister was shooting for an “advertisement film” at the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand until hours after the attack on February 14. And that this “self propagation” was an insult to the “martyrdom of the soldiers.”

Pulwama attack: Gross security failure, says Congress, gets surgical strike’s Hooda to head panel
Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala addresses a press conference at AICC, in New Delhi, on Thursday. (PTI)

THE Congress criticised the government Thursday saying that the terror attack in Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF personnel was the result of an “unpardonable failure” of national security and the “intelligence apparatus.” And announced a task force on national security to be headed by Lieutenant General (retd) D S Hooda.

Hooda was the Northern Army Commander at the time of the surgical strike across the Line of Control (LoC) on September 29, 2016 in the wake of the terrorist attack at the Army brigade headquarters in Uri. Hooda will, in consultation with a “select group of experts”, prepare a vision paper for the country, the Congress said.

Watch | How India is responding to Pulwama terror attack

Having extended support to the Government after the Pulwama attack, the Congress had been pulling its punches, but today the gloves were off. The party alleged that the Prime Minister was shooting for an “advertisement film” at the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand until hours after the attack on February 14. And that this “self propagation” was an insult to the “martyrdom of the soldiers.”

Read: Why Imran Khan’s words ring hollow: Pakistan sitting on Jaish dossiers

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Pulwama attack: Gross security failure, says Congress, gets surgical strike’s Hooda to head panel
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Prime Minister continued to “enjoy boat rides” with the camera crew even as the country was picking up the “pieces of the martyrs”.

Recalling that the Indian Army had given a “resounding reply” to Pakistan in 1971 under Indira Gandhi, Surjewala said: “It is painful that despite the Pulwama terror attack, the Prime Minister did not announce national mourning so that political rallies and inauguration sprees at the expense of public exchequer by the Prime Minister would not be cancelled.”

Read | Pulwama attack: Cong sounds like Pak, its true colours coming out to weaken morale of country, says BJP

“Questions must be asked about the gross intelligence and security failure of this government. Questions must be asked of the priority of a prime minister, who at a sensitive time as this has gone on another foreign tour to South Korea instead of tackling terror and terrorism in India…Why Modi, the National Security Advisor and the Home Minister have not owned up responsibility for the unpardonable failure of national security and intelligence apparatus? How did local terrorists acquire hundreds of kilograms of RDX, M4 Carbine and rocket launchers? How was an RDX-laden car permitted to enter the most secure Jammu-Srinagar national highway, despite standard operating procedure for sanitizing the convoy stretch?” he asked.

Read | Team will craft 5-year security strategy: DS Hooda

Pulwama attack: Gross security failure, says Congress, gets surgical strike’s Hooda to head panel
Lt General (retired) D S Hooda met Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday. (Twitter/@INCIndia)

The Congress also raised questions regarding a J&K police intelligence input dated February 8, 2019 of proper sanitization and use of IED by terrorists.