New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued shooting for a documentary in the Corbett National Park for "propaganda and publicity" till the evening of February 14 despite the Pulwama attack taking place in the afternoon that day, the Congress on Thursday alleged, citing reports in a section of the media.
The Congress launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJP in a series of questions in the wake of the Pulwama strike that killed more than 40 CRPF jawans.
Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that he did not announce national mourning and arrived an hour late when coffins of jawans arrived at the airport.
The senior Congress leader also questioned as to why BSF’s proposal for air courier was ignored.
Congress’s statement comes after former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti questioned why the CRPF soldiers were allowed to travel in a convoy, to which the state's ex-top cop said that he had proposed to airlift soldiers to avoid Pulwama-like tragedy.
He added that exposing forces for a long duration can pose a threat to their lives.
About 2,500 jawans had returned to Jammu from leave and were waiting to be ferried to Srinagar, but couldn't as the highway had been blocked for nearly a week. As the queue of waiting personnel had been getting longer, nearly 78 vehicles started out from Channi Rama transit camp in Jammu for the Valley last week when the terror strike took place.
“When 26/11 happened Modi was addressing a press conference to criticise government,” Surjewala said.
The opposition party also accused BJP president Amit Shah of "politicisation of terrorism" in his speech in Assam following the attack in which 40 CRPF jawans died after a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the paramilitary force's convoy in Jammu & Kashmir's Pulwama.
Shah, while addressing a public rally at Lakhimpur in Assam, had said that the sacrifices of the 40 CRPF personnel will not go in vain as there is a BJP government at the Centre now and it, unlike the previous Congress dispensation, will not "compromise" on any security issue.
In his hunger for power, the prime minister has forgotten "raj dharma" (duty of governance), Surjewala alleged.
Citing newspapers reports, Surjewala gave a timeline of events saying the terror attack happened at 3:10 pm on February 14 with the Congress reacting at 5:15 pm.
"The prime minister also knew about it, yet the PM, a person who claims himself to be a pseudo-nationalist, continues to shoot a film (for Discovery channel) for self-propagation in Corbett National Park in Ramnagar," he claimed.
He alleged that the prime minister continued to "enjoy boat rides" with the camera crew and later ensured that there is slogan shouting by BJP people in his favour there.
"The prime minister continues to eat chai, samosas at 7pm at government expense in a PWD guest house when every single Indian household didn't eat their food," the Congress spokesperson said.
On one hand the country was picking up the "pieces of our martyrs", on the other hand the prime minister was doing his "propaganda and publicity", he claimed.
"Can such conduct be expected from the prime minister of a country? The prime minister should have been chairing the cabinet committee on security immediately and should have taken action, instead of shooting films," he said.
Surjewala said that the Congress party had shown restrain as directed by party president Rahul Gandhi, but it was important to raise issues of such conduct that "insults martyrs".
"The Congress party and the entire nation stands united with our armed forces as also our government in every step that they take in tackling Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. We are determined in that resolve even today," he said.
The Congress leader said that questions must be asked about the gross intelligence failure of this government and on the "priorities of a prime minister who on a sensitive time like this has gone on a foreign tour to South Korea instead of tackling terrorism".