As the country mourned the martyrdom of Indian soldiers at Pulwama on February 14, the political blame game failed to subside.
40 Indian soldiers lost their lives on February 14, 2019, in one of the most devastating attacks carried out in Kashmir. Indian warplanes launched a surgical strike on a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in retaliation.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the CRPF personnel who were killed in the suicide bombing, and stated that their bravery and sacrifice motivate every Indian to work towards a strong and prosperous country.
Remembering the martyrs on the third anniversary of the Pulwama attack, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also took to Twitter to pay his tributes. “This country will never forget the sacrifice of the brave CRPF jawans killed in Pulwama in 2019. I pay my tributes to them,” read the tweet.
The attack gravely damaged the Indo-Pak relationship, as a Pakistan-based terrorist group – the Jaish-e-Mohammed – claimed responsibility for the atack. The Pakistani administration had, however, condemned the attack, denying any kind of state involvement.
The unrest wasn’t confined to the border, and gradually started spreading throughout the country in the form of political attacks, with opposition parties blaming the BJP government at the Centre.
Before the PM paid homage to the martyrs yesterday, Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao accused the BJP government of using border disturbances as a tool to further their political agenda before elections.
Questioning the surgical strike conducted by the Indian Army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, CM Rao said, “There is nothing wrong with Rahul Gandhi asking for proof of the surgical strikes. Even now, I’m asking. Let the Government of India show. It is their responsibility. There are apprehensions among people.”
In a matter of minutes, Rao’s statement received severe backlash with Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma calling it an “insult” to those who lost their lives. Furthermore, Sarma shared a video featuring maps and satellite imagery of the site, and lashed out at CM Rao saying that “new India will not tolerate insults against the army”.
Union Minister G Kishan Reddy also came forward criticising Rao’s statement stating that it shows “insensitivity, irresponsibility, ignorance, and that’s unbecoming of a CM”. He added that by inquiring about the proof of surgical strikes, Rao has now joined the campaigns of the “tukde-tukde gang and urban naxals” in an effort to vilify the Indian Armed Forces.
In an attempt to curb the possible repercussions of the devastation after the blast in 2019, the government allotted compensations to those who lost their loved ones in the attack. But monetary compensation wasn’t enough as continuous demands for taking ‘real-action’ arose. Several questions regarding the strategic planning were raised, one of them being: “Why were civilian vehicles allowed on the highway at the same time the convoy was using it?” This raised concerns over the competency of security agencies. Although the government never admitted to anything of the sort, a former CRPF inspector general was noted saying that the Pulwama Attack was a ‘big mistake’.