Indian soldiers killings: Opposition targets Antony, Parliament rocked for 2nd day
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Last Updated: Wednesday, August 07, 2013, 23:30
  
New Delhi: Parliament was rocked for a second day Wednesday over the killing of five Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir, with the BJP accusing Defence Minister A.K. Antony of misleading both houses.

Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were disrupted and adjourned till Thursday following noisy protests.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj questioned the government over the differences in the statements made by Antony and his ministry and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to clarify.

She said while the defence ministry said the Pakistan Army was responsible for the early Tuesday killings, Antony gave "a clean chit" to Pakistan. "This is a grave issue," Sushma Swaraj said.

Similar demands were made in the Rajya Sabha, where Antony promised to make a further statement after the return of Army Chief Bikram Singh from the spot.

"As defence minister, when I make a statement, I have to be careful. I made a statement yesterday (Tuesday)... today (Wednesday) the army chief (Gen. Bikram Singh) has gone to the area... If I have any more details, I will come back to you," Antony assured members.

Outside parliament, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha termed Antony's statement "most laughable" and said he had served a breach of privilege notice against the defence minister for misleading the house.

"It seems as if he (Antony) is on the Pakistan Army's side. It was a most laughable statement as the army has clearly stated that Pakistani soldiers were involved and army ... know better," he said.

On Tuesday, Antony said that some 20 heavily armed terrorists along with men dressed in Pakistan Army uniform ambushed an Indian Army patrol inside Jammu and Kashmir.

Five soldiers were killed and one was seriously injured in the attack.

Antony's clarification Wednesday only led to more heat, with opposition members asking if this meant that the minister didn't have any information on the incident.

The Congress defended Antony.

"There is no goof-up and no contradiction in his statement," Congress spokesperson P.C. Chacko told reporters.

He accused the BJP of playing politics over the issue.

"This is happening for the first time. The BJP is using it (Antony's statement Tuesday) as a political weapon while he was just trying to share information available with parliament," said Chacko.

Meanwhile, Antony briefed the prime minister on the latest developments.

IANS


First Published: Wednesday, August 07, 2013, 20:31


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