The Congress on Friday alleged a "mahagathbandhan" between Pakistan's ISI and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, accusing the prime minister of betraying the country's national interests and its security.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded that both the prime minister and the BJP president apologise to the nation for "inviting" the ISI to Pathankot air base and for reposing faith in it.
The Congress leader also said Modi and his party should not draw political gains out of the valour and courage of armed forces who carried out surgical strikes on terror camps in Pakistan.
"Modi-Shah duo have a 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) with Pakistan's ISI," he told reporters, claiming the biggest proof of their links with the ISI was the statement by its former chief Assad Durrani that 'Modi is ISI's favourite choice as the prime minister of India'. He said it was due to this "grand alliance" that the Modi government invited the ISI to probe Pathankot terror attack even though it was the Pakistani intelligence agency was responsible for it.
Surjewala alleged the Pakistani delegation invited to probe the Pathankot terrorist attack, included members of the ISI. "The prime minister should tell the nation on what basis was the ISI, responsible for Pathankot terror attack, was allowed to carry out a probe," he said.
The Congress leader asked why "Shah gave character certificates of appreciation" to ISI on March 30, 2016 in Kolkata by publicly claiming that "Pakistan has made serious efforts in the Pathankot terror probe". "Shah should tell the nation why he praised Pakistan's ISI if he did not have links with it," he asked.
Surjewala was joined by a host of ex-servicemen, including Indian Ex Servicemen Movement (IESM) chairman Maj Gen Satbir Singh, in saying the valour of soldiers should not be used for political gains and vote garnering. They were objecting to the alleged release of a video by the government of surgical strikes carried out by Indian Army on terror camps in Pakistan.
Surjewala said his party saluted the indomitable courage and bravery of the Armed forces and the nation had always celebrated the valour, fortitude and the spirit of sacrifice of jawans. He said the wars of 1947, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999 were a testimony of the heroism of the Armed forces.
"Conducting strategic surgical strikes with utmost precision and effective penetration at different times in last two decades has been characteristic of the grit and determination of our forces," he said, providing a list of such strikes since 2000. "The prime minister and the BJP have always used the blood and sacrifice of our jawans as a tool to garner votes. In fact, the BJP chief dishonoured the valour of our armed forces on October 7, 2016 by disregarding the supreme sacrifices made in the five wars and numerous surgical strikes," he claimed.
He alleged the Modi government had compromised the national security and betrayed the national interests in four and a half years. "The lack of political action and policy has led to a disquiet border and an alarming internal security situation," he claimed.
The Congress leader also asked a set of 10 questions to the prime minister and alleged he had played failed to defend India's borders and had imperiled its safety and security which was apparent in the 500 per cent increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan since May 2014. "Where was the '56-inches chest' missing when Pakistan committed more than 3,000 ceasefire violations at the LoC and international border," Surejwala asked.
"Hasn't Modi failed to consolidate the valiant surgical strikes of our Army on September 28, 2016, as Pakistan dared to commit 1,604 ceasefire violations thereafter in which 29 jawans have been martyred," he asked. He asked why Modi "bent over backwards before China" by shelving the raising of a special regiment called 'Mountain Strike Corps' along the China border, approved by the Congress-UPA government.
"Has it not imperiled the security of our eastern border," he asked. Surjewala also asked why the prime minister played havoc with India's internal security by "permitting the ugly menace of Naxalism to raise its head, kill our soldiers and civilians and creates internal disturbances".
"Is it not true that since the year 2015, 237 jawans and 380 civilians have been killed in over 3,200 Naxal attacks under the Modi government's watch," he asked. He asked if it was a fact that Modi has completely failed to draft a policy to tackle Naxalism and why he had "betrayed" the soldiers by denying them 'One Rank, One Pension'.
"Why has Modi disregarded the honour of our soldiers, veterans and ex-servicemen by making 'One Rank, One Pension' as 'One Rank Five Pensions'," he asked. The Congress leader asked if it was true that in the 52 months of the Modi government in Jammu and Kashmir alone, 414 jawans were martyred and 259 civilians killed in Pakistan- sponsored terrorism.
Surjewala alleged that soldiers like Mandeep and Narender Singh were beheaded and their bodies mutilated by Pakistan even as the Modi government remained a "mute spectator".