UPA govt “weakened” fight against terror: Rajnath in LS

RSTV Bureau
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Gurdaspur: Punjab police personnel during their investigations at the encounter site on Tuesday. Photo – PTI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement before Lok Sabha on Gurdaspur fidayeen attack. The statement in the lower house has come a day after he spoke on the floor of Rajya Sabha amid protest from the Opposition members. But on Friday afternoon, the Opposition made way for an uninterrupted statement by suspending their protest, though only for a short while.

Once again reiterating that the assailants came from Pakistan, the Union Home minister gave details of the attack and also lauded Punjab Police for making “every possible effort” during the operation. Four personnel of Punjab police, including one SP rank officer, and three civilians were killed in the attack on Monday.

He claimed that the preliminary data recovered from the GPS showed that all three terrorists had crossed over from Pakistan.

“The government is committed to deal with terrorists strongly. Three AK 47 rifles, 19 magazines, two GPS systems and a large amount of ammunition was recovered from them,” Rajnath Singh said.

Unlike Rajya Sabha, his statement was heard in rapt attention with Congress members suspending their protests and allowing the house to transact for a short while. The members of Opposition, in particular the Congress party, have been protesting against Narendra Modi government over ‘Vyapam’ scam and the Lalit Modi controversy.

Soon after the statement was made, pandemonium struck again with Opposition members coming to the Well of the house after resuming their protest. The BJP-led NDA government, under seemingly tremendous pressure to make house transact some business, responded back by accusing Congress of weakening the “fight against terror”.

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File: Former Union Home Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram. Photo – PTI

“Terrorism is the biggest challenge facing the country. Neither Parliament nor the country should appear divided on this…” the Union Home minister said.

Further expressing readiness to answer “any question” on the issue if proper notice is given for a discussion, he said, “Our government and the Prime Minister are constantly making efforts to deal with the challenge”.

However, as the Opposition protest intensified, Rajnath Singh took on the Congress party saying, “In 2013, the then Home Minister (P Chidambaram) had coined the new terminology ‘Hindu terrorism’ in order to change the direction of probe. It weakened our fight”.

But the opposition responded back with Congress party accusing the Union Home minister of politicising the issue of terror.

“He did it just to defame the previous governments. This is not a political statement. You are doing politics. We won’t tolerate that. It should be expunged,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said as the house re-assembled after an adjournment.

The exchange further intensified opposition’s protest leading to the adjournment of the lower house till Monday.

The opposition has been protesting against the incumbent BJP-led government over the controversies surrounding its senior leaders in Lalt Modi issue and ‘Vyapam’ scam. The stalemate between the government and the opposition has resulted in very less business transacted in the session so far.

(With inputs from the PTI)