The ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress today exchanged volley of words over the army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat’s statement where he had “warned” of stern action against those siding with militants in Kashmir valley. While the Congress rapped Modi government over its policy towards Pakistan, BJP accused the principal opposition party of playing politics.
MoS PMO Jitendra Singh, who hails from Jammu & Kashmir, attacked Congress for criticising Gen Rawat’s statement as he claimed that what the Army Chief said was not a warning but concern expressed by him over civilians’ safety.
“What the Army chief has said is not a warning but an expression of concern. He is worried that innocent people may be hit and become collateral damage (in anti-terrorist operation). He is saying that don’t come in the line of fire,” Singh said defending army chief.
Targeting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, he asked him to make his stand clear on the comments of his party colleagues.
“It is appalling and a matter of concern, worry that the Congress is falling to this temptation of politicising the army chief’s statement… It is speaking the voice of separatists for lowly political gains,” he said.
Earlier, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia had said restraint should be adopted by security forces while dealing with people in the state.
“The issue of internal security of the country is a serious one and there can be no compromise on it. But as I had said during the last Parliament session, atrocities should not be inflicted on innocents,” Scindia said.
Referring to the issue of use of controversial pellet guns in the valley, he said children were blinded and atrocities were committed against them during the agitation last year in the state. “There is need for restraint as no one wants to give shelter to bad people. There should be strict action against wrongs, but that should happen after proper investigation,” he said.
Hitting back at the BJP, the Congress party also criticised the BJP-led Central government’s policy towards Pakistan.
“Please tell if morale wasn’t affected as 188 Jawans were martyred in 30 months in terror attacks but Modiji couldn’t contain Pakistan,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said adding, government invited “rogue ISI” to investigate the Pathankot terror attack.
Also criticising Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore in December 2015, he said, “Modiji feasted with PM Sharif in Pakistan as jawans sacrificed for India” in a series of tweets.
Another Central minister MoS Home Kiren Rijiju had earlier endorsed Rawat’s statement and said it should not be misinterpreted.
(With inputs from the PTI)