Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Thursday called for political non-interference in matters related to the Army and said casting aspersions on the forces would only contribute to demoralisation of the troops.
“Don’t try to belittle the Army and make remarks against it. You shouldn’t try to cast any aspersions on Army in the name of surgical strike,” said the Janata Dal (Secular) supremo.
“These types of attacks can demoralise the Army. Let them go ahead without any political interference,” urged the 85-year-old senior politician from Karnataka.
In Chandigarh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condemned what he called the Narendra Modi government’s repeated attempts to politicise the Indian Army over the issue of the surgical strikes.
“It was unfortunate that the surgical strikes, which had claimed the lives of many Indian soldiers, were being repeatedly politicised by the Central government,” he said in Chandigarh.
Former Jammu-Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said nothing could be gained by debating whether the surgical strikes took place and said that one should assess whether the strikes changed things.
The National Conference (NC) Chief tweeted: “There is nothing to be gained from debating whether the #SurgicalStrikes took place. What we should be objectively discussing is what the strikes changed on the ground.”
There is nothing to be gained from debating whether the #SurgicalStrikes took place. What we should be objectively discussing is what the strikes changed on the ground.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) June 28, 2018
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) entered into a ‘claim’ game following the release of the video of the surgical strikes that were conducted in September 2016 to avenge the Uri terror attack.
On Thursday, the Congress accused the Modi government of leveraging the surgical strikes as “political fodder” to garner votes and claimed that the military move was not the first of its kind citing similar strikes carried out over last two decades.
Addressing a press conference, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that while on the one hand the Modi government is seeking credit for the sacrifice and valour of the armed forces, on the other, it has failed to provide direction and vision to deal with Pakistan.
Talking to reporters in New Delhi, Surjewala said that BJP President Amit Shah had “dishonoured” the 70-year-long history of bravery and sacrifice of the armed forces by making a “disgraceful statement” on 7 October 2016 that “Indian Army had crossed the LoC for the first time in 68 years”.
“We are proud that our forces have successfully conducted multiple surgical strikes over last two decades, particularly post the year 2000 — January 21, 2000 (Nadala Enclave, across the Neelam River); September 18, 2003 (Baroh Sector, Poonch); June 19, 2008 (Bhattal Sector, Poonch); August 30 to September 1, 2011 (Sharda Sector, across Neelam River Valley in Kel); January 6, 2013 (Sawan Patra checkpost); July 27 to 28, 2013 ( Nazapir Sector); August 6, 2013 (Neelam Valley); January 14, 2014; September 28 to 29, 2016,” he said.
“Let the ruling dispensation remember that the blood and sacrifice of our brave soldiers cannot become a political vote garnering tool for the Modi Government and the BJP,” he told reporters, alleging that the surgical strikes of 28 and 29 September 2016 were shamelessly politicised by the BJP for the March 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
“By making public the videos of the strikes, has the government not somehow endangered lives of armed forces participating in them as also civilians living along the Line of Control?” he asked.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam reiterated his claim that the surgical strike was faked. “Not only surgical strike, the entire Modi government is fake and PM Modi is the most fake person,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
On Wednesday, a video of the surgical strike by Indian Army was reportedly released and shown by some news channels.