By Brajendra Nath Singh
New Delhi Faced with public outrage over the Pulwama terrorist attack, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is being pressured by some of its MPs to give a “muscular response” to Pakistan.
As the attack comes ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh recalled the surgical strikes against Pakistan which sent a signal across the globe that India would no longer sit back and tolerate attacks such as the ones in Pathankot and Uri. They expected the Modi government’s response to be like the September 2016 surgical strikes on militant across the border to “teach Pakistan a lesson”.
The last major terror attack in India was on September 18, 2016, when militants raided an Indian Army camp in Uri, killing 20 soldiers. India responded with a surgical strike on suspected militant camps across the border in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 10 days later.
This reporter spoke to various BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh and sought to know what expectations they had from the government and many of them, while recalling the surgical strikes, said the government would take an “appropriate” action.
Union Minister Santosh Gangwar, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Bareilly, condemned the attack and said that it had once again exposed Pakistan’s character. “We will definitely take some major steps in the coming days. My sympathies are with the families of those CRPF personnel who were killed. It seems Pakistan is not ready to understand. The sacrifice of our soldiers would not go in vain. We are sad. We can not repay for the loss, but would certainly take whatever action is required,” he said.
BJP’s Meerut MP Rajendra Agarwal described the attacks as unfortunate and said that the government would explore all options.
“It was a very unfortunate incident. It appears to be a security breach as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir (Satya Pal Malik) has also said. The Cabinet Committee on Security has met today and I hope the government is working on all options to isolate Pakistan on international fronts,” he said.
He said what “military action” government would be taking is not something to be disclosed but “we should not forget that the sugical strike emerged as one of the options after Uri”. “After this attack, India has taken the lead in the fight against terrorism. The entire world should stand by India. People are outraged. We are not a weak nation now. People have faith in this government. I hope the Prime Minister and his government would do something,” he told this reporter.
RSS ideologue and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha called the issue “very sensitive” and said the Prime Minister was as anguished over the incident as common people are and it was evident when he said the perpetrators of the attack had committed a “grave mistake” and that they would pay a big price for this.
“We need to understand the sentiment behind what the PM has said. It represents the feelings of the people. This government is aware of the people’s feelings. It’s the government’s job to make a strategy, but it is definite that they will do their best to defeat mercilessly those supporting terrorism inside and outside the country,” he said.
Another BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj said the government would do its best. “People have lots of expectations from this government and the government would definitely give a muscular response,” he said.
Among the CRPF personnel killed in the Pulwama attack, 12 are from Uttar Pradesh, the state which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha and where the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party had forged an alliance to oust Modi.
Those killed from the state are Awadhesh Kumar Yadav of Chandauli, Pankaj Kumar Tripathi of Maharajganj, Amit Kumar of Shamli, Vijay Kumar Mourya of Deoria, Ram Vakeel of Mainpuri, Mahesh Kumar of Allahabad, Pradeep Kumar of Shamli, Ramesh Yadav of Varanasi, Koushal Kumar Rawat of Agra, Pradeep Singh of Kannauj, Shyam Babu of Kanpur Dehat and Ajit Kumar Azad of Unnao.