BJP, Oppn Trade Barbs Over Pulwama Attack

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CRPF officer pays homage to 40 CRPF jawans killed in suicide attack last year during first anniversary at Lethpora Pulwama district south Kashmir on February 14, 2020. KO Photo: Abid Bhat

NEW DELHI –The Pulwama suicide attack was at the centre of a bitter war of words between the opposition and the BJP on Friday with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asking who benefitted from the strike and the ruling party accusing him of being a “known sympathiser” of militant groups LeT and JeM.

While the Congress as well as the CPI-M raised questions on accountability, the BJP hit back to say Gandhi was insulting the memory of the 40 CRPF personnel killed in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 last year.

In a blistering attack on the government, Gandhi paid homage to the slain CRPF personnel and also asked what was the outcome of the inquiry into the attack.

“Today as we remember our 40 CRPF martyrs in the #PulwamaAttack , let us ask: 1. Who benefitted the most from the attack? 2. What is the outcome of the inquiry into the attack? 3. Who in the BJP Govt has yet been held accountable for the security lapses that allowed the attack?” he asked on Twitter.

The ruling party’s stinging response came almost immediately after Gandhi’s controversial tweet.

“Shame on you,” said BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao.

“When nation is paying homage to martyrs of dastardly Pulwama attack, @RahulGandhi, a known sympathizer of LeT & Jaish-e-Mohammad, chooses to target not just the government but security forces as well. Rahul will never question real culprit, Pakistan…,” Rao said on Twitter.

“This is an insult to martyrs who sacrificed their life for the country. Congress has done this in past as well and people taught them a lesson for this blunder. Such remarks by Rahul Gandhi help Pakistan counter India on international platforms,” added his party colleague Shahnawaz Hussain.

On February 14, 2019, 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed when a jeep laden with explosives hit a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway at Lethpora in Pulwama. The jeep was driven by Jaish-e-Mohammed militant Adeel Ahmed Dar, inquiries revealed.

Paying his “heartfelt homage” to the martyrs of the “ghastly attack”, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury wanted to know what had been done for the survivors and the families of those who had laid their lives down for the nation.

“Modi and the BJP directly asked for votes in the name of the martyrs of Pulwama,” he said.

“Where is the Inquiry report one year on after the terror attack? Who has been held accountable for the loss of so many lives and the massive intelligence failure? #Pulwama,” Yechury asked on Twitter.

CPI-M leader Mohammed Salim demanded justice and asked how 80 kg of RDX crossed the international border.

“We don’t need a memorial to remind us of our incompetence. The only thing we need to know is how 80 kg of RDX got past the international borders to the ‘most militarised zone on earth’ & exploded in Pulwama. Justice for Pulwama Attack needs to be done,” Salim said on Twitter.

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