NEW DELHI: The ruling BJP today launched a sharp attack at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for remarks by his party’s senior leaders on Kashmir and the army’s role in anti-terror operations. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said action should be taken against veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad for his remark that “the Indian Army is killing more civilians rather than terrorists” in Jammu and Kashmir.
Mr Prasad said it is not surprising that terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan had supported the comment and saw a pattern in statements from leaders of the Congress after Rahul Gandhi’s elevation.
“There has been a sea change in the Congress’s thinking… its commitment to the country’s security after Rahul Gandhi elevation as Congress chief,” he asserted, linking recent controversial statements by Congress leaders to its chief.
The BJP said it was shocking that Mr Azad, who was Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and had seen the brutal face of terrorism, had made such an “irresponsible and shameful statement”.
As Chief Minister of the state in 2005-2008, Mr Azad who had succeeded PDP’s Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, was widely seen to have given security forces a free hand to carry out anti-terror operations.
“This is a new Ghulam Nabi Azad, trained under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership. Not the Ghulam Nabi Azad who used to be Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Union Minister said at a media briefing that came minutes after his Cabinet colleague Arun Jaitley put out a blog that also targeted Rahul Gandhi.
The blog, a rebuttal to the human rights lobby, said terrorists had to be dealt with firmly to protect human rights of ordinary citizens, argued that there appeared to be greater coordination between “jihadi” terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and Maoists in central India and accused the Congress of going along with human rights groups that were fronts for the subversive groups.
“Even though the Congress Party historically and ideologically would have been opposed to these groups, they have earned a sympathy in Rahul Gandhi’s heart. He had no qualms about joining those who raised subversive slogans at JNU and Hyderabad,” Mr Jaitley said.