New Delhi : In the aftermath of the terror attack at the Pathankot air base, the Congress has come out with a list of lapses and demanded that some heads must roll. Fielding former union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde along with the party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala it has demanded that prime minister Narendra Modi should fix the responsibility for this negligence and act decisively. “The Prime Minister should fix responsibility for this negligence and if he reaches the same conclusion that the nation has arrived at — that there has been a huge lapse in the nation’s security — he should then take action against the Defence Minister and the Home Minister,” Surjewala said.
Narrating the course of events, Shinde said that no one has explained as to how the terrorists managed to reach Pathankot Air Base despite advance intelligence alert and reporting of prior incident. “As per DGP Punjab, Punjab Police received information relating to SP Salwinder Singh’s kidnapping and car snatching at 3.23 am on the night intervening 31st December and 1st January. According to him, ADGP (Law & Order), Punjab, was asked to rush to Pathankot by 7 am on 1st January. He further states that government of India was then informed. Despite this, terrorists breached into Pathankot Air Base on 1st January. As per Air Marshal Anil Khosla, Director-General, Air Operation, first contact with the terrorists was made on 2ndJanuary at 3.30 AM in the morning. It is, thus, clear that a period of nearly 20-24 hours lapsed between the first incident committed by terrorists and the first contact with them in the Air Base. No one has explained the reason for this fatal lapse of time in tackling terrorists,” he said.
Shinde, who replayed the video clips from Modi’s campaign and his criticism of the UPA government at the time of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, said that the government must first realize that it has committed a grave lapse. “If there is a lapse, resignations should happen,” the former Home Minister added.
He also charged that there was a definite lack of coordination in the Union Cabinet even in tackling an issue as serious as terrorism as no meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security was called immediately by the Prime Minister, and the Home and the Defence Ministers were fumbling and deleting tweets after being contradicted by the Home Secretary. Shinde said that for a government that came to power on the slogan of, ‘stop writing love letters to Pakistan and give Pakistan an answer in the language it understands’ the last 19 months of Modi government have seen 900 border ceasefire violations on Indo-Pakistan Border with 19 jawans and 34 civilians having lost their lives. Even Border Security Force (BSF) has admitted that there have been 35% hike in infiltrations from across Pakistan Border in last one year.
He said that one wonders as to why the NDA goverment is “soft on Pakistan” over the Pathankot attack, and is “shying away” from calling the Pathankot Air Base attackers as “Pakistani terrorists”, more so when they were loaded with fire arms, explosives, clothes, shoes and logistic support from Pakistan with “handlers located in Pakistan” as reflected by telephone transcripts. The Congress leaders also wondered why the Modi government has not lodged a formal protest till date with Pakistan government, summoned their High Commissioner and taken a decision to place the matter before international fora, so as to “expose and isolate Pakistan” as a state that is “abetting and permitting its soil to be used for anti-India terror activities.
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