New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) The Congress on Wednesday attacked the NDA government for “grave security and intelligence failure” over the death of seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should own responsibility for endangering national security.
The party also said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is grim and the BJP-PDP government was “unwilling” to accept its gross failures in plunging the state into a “situation of no return”.
“Nearly 36 hours have passed but neither Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have come forward to either admit the grave security failure or to assure the nation on decisive action,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters here at a press conference.
Lashing out at Modi, Singhvi said, “We have not even heard a single syllable on the momentous failure on the part of the Prime Minister.”
“After every terrorist attack, be it the Uri or the Pathankot Air force camp similar platitudes are offered by government with Prime Minister refusing to come forward,” he alleged.
Singhvi further said: “No amount of condemnation is enough to heal the wounds and scars of the Yatris in that fateful bus, which was the subject of this mindless act of terror.”
“Attack on Amarnath Yatra and killing of Yatris happened on account of gross and grave intelligence failure, despite specific inputs as early as on June 27,” he added.
“The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is grim. The BJP-PDP government is unwilling to accept its gross failures in plunging the state into a situation of no return. How many times do we need to remind BJP-PDP of their Constitutional obligations to govern and provide basic security to the people?” Singhvi asked.
Hitting out at the government, he said: “Merely tweeting on Kashmiriyat and replying to a troll will not absolve Home Minister Rajnath Singh of the primary responsibility to maintain peace and tranquility. Since the past 38 months, India only has a part-time Defence Minister, which is a sad commentary on the state of affairs that are endangering our national security.
“Should Prime Minister Narendra Modi not own responsibility for endangering our national security?” Singhvi asked.
Congress also accused the government for contradictions in the statements by two junior ministers after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security.
“MoS Home Hansraj Ahir said ‘we will look into the security lapses and will fill in the gaps’, while MoS PMO Jitendra Singh showered praises on the Prime Minister and said that ‘he is personally monitoring the situation…’,” said Singhvi.
“Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Singh is conceding that ‘there was definitely a lapse in security’, while BJP General Secretary in-charge of the state Ram Madhav sharply contradicted them and said ‘there was no security lapse’,” he remarked.
“Why is the BJP speaking in multiple contradictory, antithetical and discrepant voices?” asked Singhvi.
“We want to ask the BJP government why no concrete preventive steps were taken even after a specific intelligence tip off,” Singhvi asked.
The Congress cautioned that the situation was all the more grave with lumpen terrorist outfits operating from Pakistan, speaking about use of rogue chemical weapons.
The party posed a few pertinent questions. “Despite specific inputs from the IB and other intelligence agencies, why did the government not act on such a specific intel input?
“How did the terrorists manage to attack the bus twice during curfew hours?” asked Singhvi.
“Why was the fateful bus left out of the convoy? Why was adequate security not provided to it to ensure safety of the passengers, when it was past 7 p.m. in view of the security threat?
“How were 60 pilgrims visiting the shrine travelling without security? How did this major security lapse happen?” he asked.