Citizens, Opposition leaders attending a convention in New Delhi criticise Modi Govt for ‘compromising’ national security for political gains.
NEW DELHI — The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government has compromised national security interests for its political gains, major political parties that are part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc have alleged.
At a convention here on Tuesday evening, speakers called for a white paper on the Pulwama/Balakot incidents and the spike in communal violence across several states.
Key Opposition party leaders attending the “National Convention on National Security Affairs: Concerns and Accountability” said that national issues and concerns, from the empowerment of weaker sections of society to population policies, had been turned into weapons and used against the people by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
Several participants also blamed the ruling party and its parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for having unleashed the demon of violence. They said their hate propaganda is apparent in the present crises in Manipur, Maharashtra and Haryana. Incidentally, all three states are run by the BJP government and allies.
Among the speakers at the convention were Satya Pal Malik, former governor of Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa and Meghalaya; high-ranking retired armed forces officers, including Maj Gen (Retd) V Dayal and Sanjiv Sood, who retired as ADG of the Border Security Force (BSF). The speakers also included senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(M) and CPI leaders and Congress leader Digvijaya Singh.
Retired defence officer Sanjiv Sood said the Indian public needed to be awakened to how fake news and false claims about development were being used. “When the Pulwama incident happened, the ‘Godi media’ anchors, who praised the government day and night cheered, and called it a ‘win’ (Arnab Goswami),” he said, adding that so many jawans had died and yet no firm investigation of the Pulwama incident has been done.
Several speakers also expressed serious concern at the recent train shooting down of four persons, including three Muslims, by a Railway Protection Force constable on a running train. They added that the incident was being projected as an act by a “mentally unwell” man when it was actually a result of anti-Muslim propaganda and demagoguery.
“They did not sanitise the route soldiers took in Pulwama, but they are sanitising the Maharashtra shootout,” said CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya. He was referring to the tragic terrorist attack in February in Pulwama, months before the 2019 Lok Sabha election, in which around 40 CRPF soldiers died.
The convention also passed a resolution demanding a white paper on the Pulwama incident, a Supreme Court (SC)-monitored probe into the attack, and holding those responsible, accountable. It said the government must ensure the security of religious sites, including the upcoming Ram temple in Ayodhya, and not use religious issues to spread social division and communal hatred.
“The incident in Pulwama was the first in history in which a government used its gross failure and terrible blunder to whip up emotions to succeed in election,” said John Brittas, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala.
“One party crossed all limits to take advantage of a national tragedy,” said Daanish Ali, an MP from the Bahujan Samaj Party. “Our focus should be on ensuring national security, which all parties and all Indians want, by making every Indian feel safe in the country,” he added.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan cited information from unnamed sources that more incidents like Pulwama and Balakot could happen again, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. He said ground troops might be part of such actions in the future, even in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). “This is what I hear, and this is what we heard before the 2019 elections as well—that a shocking event would occur that would lead to support (and votes) for BJP. So, if we have received warnings from (various international) terrorist outfits of an attack, then the government must not ignore it but strengthen security at religious sites,” Bhushan said.
According to several speakers, the government ignored pre-Pulwama intelligence reports and did not properly investigate the events thereafter either.
Kumar Ketkar, a senior journalist and Congress MP, said a people’s committee must investigate what transpired in Pulwama and Balakot.
Former J&K governor Satypal Malik alleged that the government used Pulwama to win the 2019 general elections. He shared his fear of the circumstances where prominent sites, such as Ram Temple’s security, could be compromised to win the 2024 election. According to Malik, citizens should be alarmed as multiple attempts of hate, riots, and communal violence were being made before the 2024 elections.