Wednesday, February 21, 2024

War of words over Modi’s 26/11 remark

A war of words broke out Wednesday between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hours after Home Minister P. Chidambaram snubbed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks that Mumbai could not have been attacked by Pakistan-based terrorists without support from within India.
Chidambaram said at a press conference here: “You should ask Narendra Modi and Pakistan if they are in contact with each other.”
Later, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “At a time, when Pakistan is targeted from all sides on the issue of terrorism, the BJP seems to have become the biggest supporter of Pakistan.” He said: “Either it is a well-drafted strategy of the BJP or a childish act. If it is a childish act, then the BJP has no right to remain as a political party.”
Modi, speaking at the BJP national council meeting in Nagpur Sunday, had said: “Such a big terror attack on India cannot take place without local help. Any ordinary or simple person will say that.” Modi has tried to defend his statement since then, saying: “I only meant to say if Pakistan had planned such a big attack, it may well have done some recce, it may have got some assistance locally. The government should also keep this in mind.”
The BJP, however, seconded his Nagpur remarks. Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said: “Modi had raised every Indian’s concern. I think Home Minister P. Chidambaram has lost his cool because of his failures.” He said: “No outsider would know the topography of the two hotels (Taj and Oberoi Trident). Such precision attacks are not possible without local support.”
The BJP spokesperson said the Congress should act against union minister A.R. Antulay who questioned the circumstances of the killing of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad chief Hemant Karkare during the Nov 26 Mumbai attack.
Antulay had raised questions over the circumstances leading to the death of Karkare, who was probing the Sep 29 Malegaon blast in which Hindu groups are allegedly involved. Asked about this, Congress’ Tewari said: “Our party had rejected Antulay’s remarks and said they were unwarranted.”
The Pakistan media used Modi’s remarks to insist that the 26/11 terror attacks that killed 170 people in Mumbai were abetted by “alienated Indian Muslims”.
Modi’s statement stood out against repeated assertions by New Delhi that elements in Pakistan were responsible for the Mumbai atrocity.
“The statements being given by BJP leaders have become a shield for Pakistan. The jugalbandi (twosome) of Narendra Modi and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi puts a question mark on the nationalism of BJP,” Tewari said.
“At a time when the world is considering Pakistan as the central point of terrorism, the opposition party is playing into the hands of Pakistan. It is time the BJP explains its relation with Pakistan,” he added.

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