Mounting a fresh offensive against the BJP government on the first anniversary of the Pulwama terror attack, the Congress on Friday accused it of using the sacrifice of soldiers for electoral gains and asked who benefited the most from the strike.
As Pulwama occupied the political centrestage, several Congress leaders, including former president Rahul Gandhi, raised questions on the inquiry into the attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel and why it was not being made public.
Gandhi asked who was made accountable for the terror attack on a security convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 last year.
“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 posted on Twitter.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the entire nation paid homage to the martyrs of Pulwama and many questions remain.
“Why is the report of Pulwama attack not being made public? Who is accountable? Who brought the 350 Kgs IED? Why were intelligence reports of attack ignored? Did Devinder Singh have any role,” he tweeted, referring to the Jammu and Kashmir police officer arrested along with two Hizbul Mujahideen militants.
“Every Indian is proud of Pulwama martyrs! Why can”t Modi Govt tell the names of our brave jawans? Why is Govt not giving details of financial assistance given to families of our bravehearts? Why hide the investigation report? What is BJP Govt hiding? Nation wants to know,” Surjewal went on to say on Twitter.
Addressing a press conference, his colleague Jaiveer Shergill alleged that the BJP had used the attack and the sacrifice of soldiers for electoral gains.
“BJP focus is only on vote security and not on national security. BJP after 26/11 not only did a press conference but also printed posters with blood of the sacrifice of our soldiers, asking for votes,” the spokesperson said.
The BJP, he added, had sought votes in the name of the Pulwama attack.
“If the BJP government and the PM can spend Rs 4,500 crore on self advertisements and spend Rs 1.5 crore everyday on his SPG security, why did the BJP government not fulfil the promises made to the families of Pulwama martyrs,” he asked.
The Congress leader said the BJP had betrayed the families by not fulfilling the promises of a government job and Rs 25 lakh to their next of kin.
He also alleged that the BJP was “misusing” ”Bharat Ke Veer”, a fund-raising initiative for paramilitary forces personnel.
“BJP is guilty of misusing and misappropriating ”Bharat Ke Veer Fund”, completely robbing and pickpocketing soldiers of this country,” he said.
Shergill asked if the fund established by the Home Ministry is not being utilised to give assistance to families of martyrs of Pulwama, then in whose pocket is the money going.
The Congress leader said the fund witnessed 12-time increase in donations after the Pulwama attack but the money did not reach the intended beneficiaries.
“Is the BJP government, as usual, utilising the find on publicity, self-promotion and self-advertisement,” he asked.
Shergill also came to Gandhi”s support after the BJP accused him of insulting the memory of Pulwama martyrs.
“When Shri Narendra Modi held a press conference questioning the government from attack site of 26/11 he was a nationalist, but when Shri Rahul Gandhi raises questions on Pulwama he is anti-national? Shun the hypocrisy and stop this ”use and throw” policy towards soldiers of this country,” Shergill said.
He added that the BJP is the first to claim credit for national security but remains mum when it comes to issues of intelligence failure.
“The world knows that Pakistan was responsible for the Pulwama attack but the BJP government is silent about the big intelligence failure and security lapse that led to the attack,” he said.
According to him, the BJP government is “scared, allergic to answerability and accountability relating to lapses in national security”.
“During elections, the BJP approach towards soldiers is ”Hum Saath Saath Hai” but after elections their approach is ”Hum Aapke Hai Kaun?,” he said, referencing two Bollywood films to make his point.
The Congress on Twitter asked why the Pulwama attack report had not been made public and whether the government was suppressing it to hide their failures.
“After the election speeches and photo-ops the BJP govt has completely forgotten about the families of the martyrs. They promised them jobs and compensation, yet one year after the attack families are forced to beg the govt for what is owed to them.”
Party leader Shashi Tharoor asked if there has been a serious investigation into what happened in Pulwama. “Patriotism cannot be an excuse for incompetence on national security,” he said, asking who was responsible and accountably that left 40 jawans vulnerable. “BJP cloaks itself in the flag as a shield against all criticism. But patriotism is a faith, not an alibi,” he said.