New Delhi: Scaling up the offensive against the government over Pathankot terror attack, Congress on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fix responsibility for the “grave security lapse” and suggested that some heads must roll.
“They should realise that it has gone wrong and resignations should happen. If there is a lapse, resignations should happen,” former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters at the AICC briefing when repeatedly asked whether Congress is demanding resignation of Home Minister Rajnath Singh or Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar into the matter.
“This government has totally failed. It has no system in place to protect the nation,” he added.
All India Congress Committee Communication Department chairman Randeep Surjewala also said that the Prime Minister should fix the responsibility and take action against the home and defence ministers.
“First responsibility is of the prime minister as he is the head of the government. Then defence minister and home minister are also responsible as they deal with the matter.
“The prime minister should act decisively and not merely talk. The prime minister should fix responsibility for this negligence and he reaches to 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.
The party asked will the prime minister and the BJP government explain as to who is responsible for “grave security lapse” as terrorists managed to reach Pathankot Air Base despite advance intelligence alert and reporting of prior incident.
Accusing the government of having “totally failed” on the security front, the Congress leaders played out video clips of Modi favouring a tough approach to deal with Pakistan and slamming UPA government’s handling of Pakistan affairs before the Lok Sabha polls.
Wondering why the NDA goverment is “soft on Pakistan” over the Pathankot attack.
Surjewala and Shinde 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”.
Taking a swipe at the prime minister, Shinde said Modi used to say that UPA ministers were serving Biryani to Pakistani leaders but what is happening now.
“He (Modi) himself went to meet Nawaz Sharif and after that Pathankot happened,” Shinde said.
Shinde said if this government continued like this, “then it looks like we may lose our country to terrorists.”
He referred to the strong remarks of Modi after the Mumbai terror strikes.
“In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi bitterly criticised Congress-led UPA by mocking us saying stop writing love letters to Pakistan and give Pakistan an answer in the language it understands. In fact Modi held a press conference in Mumbai amidst the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and criticised the then prime minister Manmohan Singh.
“One of the principal electoral rhetoric of Modi always was that there has been enough of attacks on the border and it is time for Modi government now (bahut hua seema par waar; Abki baar Modi sarkaar). We have seen Modi ji’s view on 26/11 attacks. We have seen what were his demands at that time. We hope that he introspects about what he had said in Mumbai,” he said.
Shinde said there has been a “rise” in the incidents of terror attacks since the NDA came to power.
“Four major attacks have happened during NDA between 1999 and 2004. During NDA-I, there were hijackings, attacks on Red Fort, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Parliament. Whenever BJP comes to power, terrorism increases.
“In 1999, IC 184 hijack happened.The then foreign minister accompanied the terrorists to Kandahar and released them. Since 1999, there is a belief that India has no strength. Terrorists think they can do anything and they will be released,” Shinde said.
Alleging that timely action was not taken in the Pathankot attack, Shinde said that till coordination is not in place, such attacks cannot be handled.
“Pathankot is a sensitive area. When you received intelligence, you should have shut down all movements from airbase,” he said.
“We can be friends with Pakistan, but we will not tolerate any terrorist attacks. What did Modi ji discuss in Pakistan? We are in dark about what they discussed.
“Why did it take Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif five days to call Indian Prime Minister despite overwhelming evidence about citizenship identity, origin and handling of Pathankot Air Base attackers from Pakistan?” he asked.
The former home minister also rued that the BJP had raked up his “Hindu terror” remark in Parliament and said that there was a rise in terror incidents after that and wondered if that was the case why a number of terror incidents happened during the earlier rule of National Democratic Alliance (NDA).