Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the 40 CRPF soldiers killed in a terror attack on their convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir a year ago, even as the anniversary was at the centre of a war of words between the BJP and the Opposition.
“India will never forget the martyrdom of the security personnel killed in last year’s Pulwama attack,” Mr. Modi wrote on Twitter, terming the slain soldiers “exceptional individuals” who devoted their lives to serving and protecting the nation. “Tributes to the brave martyrs who lost their lives in the gruesome Pulwama attack last year. They were exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to serving and protecting our nation. India will never forget their martyrdom,” he said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also paid tributes to the jawans. He tweeted: “Remembering the fallen CRPF personnel who were martyred during the dastardly attack in Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir) on this day in 2019. India will never forget their sacrifice.” Mr. Singh, who was the Union Home Minister at the time of the attack, said the whole country was committed to continuing the fight against terrorism.
The BJP took umbrage at the remarks of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. He tweeted that a year after the incident, it was important to ask questions: “…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?”
The BJP said Mr. Gandhi was insulting the memory of the soldiers. Party spokesperson G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said it was a “shame” that such remarks were being made “when the nation is paying homage to martyrs of the dastardly Pulwama attack. Rahul Gandhi, a known sympathiser of LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba] and JeM [Jaish-e-Mohammed], chooses to target not just the government but security forces as well. Rahul Gandhi will never question the real culprit, Pakistan”.
His party colleague Shahnawaz Hussain said: “This is an insult to martyrs who sacrificed their life for the country. The Congress has done this in the past as well, and people taught them a lesson for this blunder. Such remarks by Rahul Gandhi help Pakistan counter India on international platforms.”