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PM continued shooting for film after Pulwama attack: Congress

Last updated on: February 21, 2019 23:08 IST

In a stinging attack, the Congress cited media reports to allege that Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued shooting for a film in the Corbett National Park on February 14 for 'self propagation', and stayed put till the evening despite the Pulwama terror attack in the afternoon that day.

IMAGE: Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala addresses a press conference. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, addressing a press conference, also claimed that the prime minister continued to 'have tea and samosas at seven o'clock in a PWD guest house when every single Indian household didn't eat food (that day)'.

 

Surjewala said the Modi government must answer five questions on national security and own accountability for the "inexcusable failure".

"Why has PM Modi, the NSA (National Security Advisor Ajit Doval) and the home minister (Rajnath Singh) not owned responsibility for the unpardonable failure of national security and intelligence apparatus?" he asked.

Alleging 'gross intelligence failure', Surjewala said the government needs to answer how did local militants get RDX and M4 carbines.

"Why did you ignore a video released by Jaish-e-Mohammad 48 hours before? Why couldn't you airlift troops? Is it more expensive than the lives of our jawans?" he asked.

Surjewala claimed the Jammu and Kashmir police's specific intelligence input dated February 8, 2019, for proper sanitisation and use of IED by terrorists were ignored by the government.

"Why was the request of the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and BSF (Border Security Force) for movement of troops by air denied by the MHA? Would air transit not have saved precious lives of our jawans?" he asked.

He also claimed that 488 jawans and 280 civilians have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the 56 months of the Modi government.

Taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party, Surjewala accused its president Amit Shah of indulging in 'politicisation of terrorism' in his speech in Assam on Sunday.

At a public rally in Assam's Lakhimpur district, Shah had said the sacrifices of the 41 CRPF personnel will not go in vain as there is a BJP government at the Centre now and it, unlike the previous Congress dispensation, will not 'compromise' on any security issue.

Meanwhile, attending a BJP event in Andhra Pradesh's Rajahmundry city on Thursday, Shah hit back at the Congress, saying the opposition party was using the Pulwama attack for its 'political interests'.

"With what face is the Congress raising questions against the prime minister? The Congress called the Army chief names, it raised doubts over the surgical strikes (on terror havens in Pakistan), it accused the prime minister of trading with soldiers' blood, Congress' (Navjot Singh) Sidhu embraced Pakistan Army chief, the previous Congress president cried when terrorists were killed," Shah said.

Reacting to Shah's remarks later in the day, Surjewala said the BJP president should not forget that it was a Congress government that taught Pakistan lessons in 1947, in 1965 and in 1971.

"Amit Shah needs to learn about patriotism. The kind of politics he is indulging in, he should apologise to the country," he told reporters.

At the press conference, Surjewala also alleged that 'in his hunger for power, the prime minister has forgotten 'raj dharma' (duty of governance)'.

Citing reports in some Hindi dailies, he gave a timeline of events saying the terror attack happened at 3.10 pm on February 14 with the Congress reacting to it at 5.15 pm.

But, the prime minister was 'busy' in film shooting and photo shoots till hours after the attack, Surjewala claimed.

"The prime minister also knew about it (the attack). Yet the PM, a person who claims himself to be a nationalist, continues to shoot a film (for Discovery Channel) for self propagation in the Corbett National Park in Ramnagar," he claimed.

The Congress spokesperson alleged that the prime minister continued to 'enjoy boat rides' with the camera crew and later ensured that there was slogan shouting by BJP people in his favour.

On one hand the country was picking up the 'pieces of our martyrs', and on the other hand the prime minister was involved in his 'propaganda and publicity', Surjewala claimed.

"Can such a conduct be expected from the prime minister of a country. The prime minister should have been chairing the cabinet committee on security immediately and should have taken action, instead of shooting films," he said.

In a scathing attack on Modi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi claimed that jawans killed in the Pulwama attack are denied the status of martyrs but the prime minister 'gifts' Rs 30,000 crore to Anil Ambani for him to 'live happily ever after'.

Surjewala said the Congress had shown restrain on the direction of party president Gandhi, but it was important to raise issues of such conduct that 'insults martyrs'.

"The Congress and the entire nation stands united with our armed forces as also our government in every step that they take in tackling Pakistan-sponsored terrorism," he said.

Surjewala claimed that the prime minister reached one hour late to receive the mortal remains of CRPF jawans at the Palam technical airport in Delhi.

The Congress leader also hit out at the conduct of BJP leaders in the aftermath of the attack.

He displayed a photograph purportedly showing BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj smiling during the final journey of a slain jawan and cited Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons taking a 'selfie' at a soldier's funeral.

Alphons has denied taking the picture himself saying some miscreants circulated his photograph at the CRPF jawan's funeral as a 'selfie'.

Slamming the Congress for targeting the PM, Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad rejected the charge as 'shameful' and said Modi was there as part of an official programme related to tiger conservation.

The Union minister claimed that terrorism in Kashmir has been dealt a severe blow during the Modi government's rule, saying that 728 terrorists were killed during 2015-18 compared to the corresponding figure of 349 during 2011-14.

Asked about the sharp rise in the casualties of security forces as well, he said it should be seen that terrorism has been hit hard.

To a question about demand of scrapping Article 370, which gives Jammu and Kashmir exclusive constitutional rights and has been opposed by the BJP since the party's inception, he said it will be considered at an appropriate time.

Asked about the visit of Modi, who was then the Gujarat chief minister, to Mumbai following the terror attack there in 2008, Prasad claimed that he went there to meet the families of victims and that the BJP, which was then in opposition, had not politicised it.

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