The Congress on Saturday attacked the Narendra Modi-led government for not naming China in his Independence Day speech, PTI reported. Referring to the Ladakh clashes in June, the prime minister said attempts have been made to undermine the country’s territorial integrity, but Indian soldiers gave a befitting reply.

“Each and every Congress worker and all 130 crore Indians are proud of our armed forces and have full faith in them,” party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters after Modi’s address. “We salute the armed forces for giving China an apt reply every time there has been an attack. But what about those who are sitting in power. Why are they scared of mentioning China’s name?”

Surjewala also urged citizens to question the government on what it was doing to protect the country. “But we must also think about why our rulers are scared of taking China’s name,” he added, according to Hindustan Times. “Today, when China has occupied our territory we must ask the government how it proposes to push the Chinese forces back and protect our territorial integrity. That is the true sense of democracy.”

The Congress has repeatedly attacked the Centre for its handling of the clashes between India and China. Before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and Modi had attacked the Manmohan Singh’s government’s “inability” to deal with China with a strong hand.

Talking about Modi’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India call, Surjewala said the foundation for this was laid down by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, first Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and other Congress leaders. “But a government which is selling public sector undertakings, handing over railways and airports to private players and attacking everything from LIC [Life Insurance Corporation of India] to FCI [Food Corporation of India], will that government be able to keep the freedom of this country safe? It is the duty of the government and every citizen to keep the freedom of the country safe.”

The spokesperson also questioned if the Bharatiya Janata Party government believes in the mandate of the people and if there is freedom to speak freely in the country. “Does our government believe in public opinion? Do we have the freedom to speak, think, to travel, to wear what we like, to earn our livelihood or has that been curbed?”