Soldiers' killing: Congress steps up attack on Pakistan



New Delhi: As outrage continued over the beheading of a soldier, Congress on Monday stepped up attack on Pakistan expressing concern over its army joining hands with terrorists and asserted India was "ready to face any eventuality".

Party spokesperson Rashid Alvi, at the same time, said India would "not like to see a war anywhere in the world" but "will not tolerate any humiliation to its soldiers...No eventuality can cow us down".

He also found nothing wrong with Shiv Sena's opposition to Pakistan hockey team's arrival in India, saying there was all-round anger in the country, which is justified, and the opposition party has expressed it in its own way.

His reaction came on a day when the fast by the wife and mother of 29-year-old soldier Hemraj, who was beheaded by Pakistani troops in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January eight, entered its sixth day. The family has demanded an assurance from the Army Chief that his severed head will be brought back from Pakistan even as politicians made a beeline to the slain jawan's Khairair village in UP.

Demanding that India should take steps to "isolate" Pakistan on the issue of killing of two jawans, BJP asked the government to raise it in the UN and other international forums.

It has also been attacking the government for giving an alleged impression of India being a soft state, a contention strongly refuted by Alvi, who cautioned the opposition party against "playing politics" over the issue.

"BJP by repeatedly saying that India is a soft state encourages Pakistan. India had never been, is or will be a soft state. Playing politics over this issue is unfortunate," he said, adding that the government is "very serious" on it.

He also rejected criticism that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have reacted over the incident in the manner he did on the Delhi gang-rape case.

"This is not a political issue...The Prime Minister is very serious on it but you must understand that every word by the Prime Minister will attract worldwide attention.

"Leave it to the Prime Minister as to what and when to speak. It is his own prerogative. There should be no politics on it," he said.

PTI