Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday extended support to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack that killed at least 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force in Jammu and Kashmir.
Gandhi described the incident as “a terrible tragedy” and said the violence against the security forces was “absolutely disgusting”. “The aim of terrorism is to divide this country and we are not going to be divided,” he said. “The entire opposition will stand together with our jawans and our government.”
“Those who have done this should not feel that they can harm the country, it is a time of mourning,” Gandhi added.
At a press conference in Delhi, Gandhi said no amount of hatred and anger can harm the love India is built on, PTI reported. Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and AK Antony were also present.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Congress will stand in full support of the jawans and their families. “Our country has lost close to 40 jawans of the armed forces. Our foremost duty is to convey to the families that we are with them,” he said. “We will do all that is necessary to keep this nation united.”
Singh said the country would never compromise with the scourge of terrorism.
BJP President Amit Shah on Friday urged political parties to rise above politics and unite on the issue of national security. “These are times when we all must come together and strengthen our resolve to make India stronger and safer,” he tweeted. “I appeal to the political class – let us rise above politics and show that we are together when it comes to matters of national security. Nothing matters above India.”
There have been acrimonious statements made by several political leaders recently, ahead of Lok Sabha elections that are due in summer.
The horrific attack in Pulwama has saddened the entire nation, Shah said, condemning the barbaric mentality that breeds such hate and violence. “PM Narendra Modi assured the nation that the sacrifices of our martyrs shall not go in vain,” he said. “130 crore Indians stand in complete solidarity with the families of the courageous heroes who devoted their life in service of the nation.”
Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati said her party strongly condemns the terrorist attack. “We appeal to the central government to find a lasting solution to this problem,” she said.
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said the government will take appropriate action against the perpetrators, ANI reported. “It’s a very sad incident, it’s deplorable, it’s something which should lead us to taking action, so that this should not happen again,” said the former Army chief. “Pakistan must take action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and Masood Azhar, the onus is on Pakistan now.”
The Jaish-e-Mohammed militant outfit had claimed responsibility for the attack. Pulwama-based militant Adil Ahmad, who joined the outfit last year, drove the explosive-laden Scorpio car into the bus that was part of a CRPF convoy heading to Srinagar.
India on Thursday urged the United Nations to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist. India also asked that Pakistan stop allowing terror groups to operate from its territory, a demand that was echoed by the United States.
Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi said the attack was a “serious security challenge for the country”. “This situation demands a united strong response,” she tweeted. “As also full support to the bereaved families in all possible ways.”
Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao cancelled his birthday celebrations scheduled for February 17 keeping in mind the Pulwama attack. He also appealed to party leaders and workers to not celebrate the event in any form.
Punjab Assembly adjourned for the day
The Punjab Assembly on Friday adjourned for the day after strongly condemning the terror attack. Members of the House, cutting across party lines, paid tributes to the CRPF personnel and observed a two-minute silence in their memory.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asked the central government to give a befitting reply to the “dastardly act of Pakistan”. “It is time to teach [them] a lesson,” said Singh. “The Pakistan Prime Minister speaks peace and the General speaks war.”
Shiromani Akali Dal legislator Bikram Singh Majithia called for the House to be adjourned, a motion that was supported by Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and Parliamentary Affairs minister Brahm Mohindra. “It is the worst ever terror attack... it has been strongly condemned the world over,” said Majithia. “We should understand the gravity of the situation. The nation is in the mourning and we should adjourn the House.”
Separatists condemn policy, seek resolution of Kashmir dispute
The Joint Resistance Leadership, which comprises separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, condemned the attack, and said the hostilities need to stop to ensure peace in the region.
The group criticised the government’s “denial to engage with the sentiments and aspirations of the people of the state and instead the use of a muscular military approach to counter an essentially political and human problem”. This approach is wreaking havoc in the state and its next generation, the group said. Meanwhile, those in the state to execute this policy – security forces – are “also under stress and paying a price with their lives”, they said.
“If this death dance has to stop, if hatred and revenge has to stop, if killing and counter-killings has to stop and if we really want peace in the region we have to put an end to hostilities,” the separatist group said. “And the most effective and civilised manner to do so is to reach out and engage and listen to the concerns of all three stakeholders and address them in the spirit of humanity and justice.”