NEW DELHI: The video of surgical strikes conducted by the elite para commandos of the Indian Army on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, 2016, which were released on Wednesday, has now triggered a political storm in the country with the Opposition accusing the Centre of misusing it for political gains and the ruling side rejecting the charge.
Nearly 637 days after the daring raid by the special Army commandos, the video of the surgical strikes which was accessed by Zee Media, clearly shows the bravehearts demolishing terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan, inflicting heavy casualties.
However, with the surgical strike video coming to the public domain, the Congress party has launched a barrage of attack on the incumbent Narendra Modi government for misusing the same for political benefits.
Addressing a press conference in the national capital, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, ''The ruling party will have to remember that they cannot make the sacrifice of the Army a tool to garner votes for them. It is the soldiers who sacrificed their lives and it is Modi ji who was glorified.''
Accusing the Modi government of exploiting the public sentiment through the surgical strike video, Surjewala said, ''Modi govt is exploiting the slogan of 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' and trying to win votes through the surgical strikes.''
''Nation wants to ask them did Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh boast of the success of Army operations during their tenure, just like them?'' he asked.
Modi govt is exploiting the slogan of 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' & trying to win votes through #SurgicalStrike. Nation wants to ask them did Atal Bihari Vajpayee & Manmohan Singh boast of the success of Army operations during their tenure, just like them?: Randeep Surjewala, Congress pic.twitter.com/NkMbARAYbu
— ANI (@ANI) June 28, 2018
Surjewala hit hard by saying that the nation needs to be cautioned that whenever the Narendra Modi government's popularity declines, whenever Amit Shah's BJP starts losing, they misuse the valour of the Army for their political benefit.
Former Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav too ridiculed the Centre over the surgical strikes.
''Due to concerted efforts, the situation had improved in J&K but it has deteriorated again. BJP government at the Centre and its policies have ruined the state completely. Releasing the surgical strike video reflects government's malicious propaganda. However, the nation can no longer be fooled by such tactics,'' he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, former Union Minister Arun Shourie said, ''I never had any doubt on the fact that the strike took place. But to use it for propaganda and boast about it that 'my chest is 56 inch and I gave a befitting reply to Pakistan', is wrong.''
I never had any doubt on the fact that the strike took place. But to use it for propaganda & to boast about it that 'my chest is 56 inch & I gave a befitting reply to Pakistan', is wrong: Former Union Minister Arun Shourie to ANI on release of #SurgicalStrike video pic.twitter.com/LtJVPKi90K
— ANI (@ANI) June 28, 2018
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) constituent Janata Dal-United too questioned the Modi government over what it achieved by carrying out surgical strikes on terror launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2016.
Talking to news agency ANI, JDU leader Pawan Kumar said that there has been an increase in instances of ceasefire violations by Pakistan after India carried out the surgical strikes. Pointing that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led JDU had earlier supported the move, Verma said that government needed to take a view of what was achieved.
“When the government announced that surgical strike has been done, we had supported it. In spite of surgical strike, there has been an increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan. Now, it is for the government to take a view of what surgical strike achieved,” the JDU leader said.
However, the ruling BJP has categorically rejected the charge of misusing the surgical strikes for political gains.
BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy said, ''just because they (Congress) can't produce such videos, because there's none, we shouldn't do it too? How's this exploiting people's sentiments in BJP's favour? If you did it, why did you hide it? It's just like the old saying 'grapes are sour'.''
Swamy's BJP colleague and Union minister Kiren Rijiju too said, ''I am surprised that Congress that ruled India for more than five decades is speaking in a language which is in tune with separatists and Pakistani establishment. Congress has demanded proof of surgical strike and now when proof has started emerging, they're saying it's for publicity.''
Surprised that Congress that ruled India for more than 5 decades, is speaking in a language which is in tune with separatists&Pakistani establishment. Congress demanded proof of surgical strike, & now when proof has started emerging,they're saying it's for publicity: Kiren Rijiju pic.twitter.com/kZEoihd3KX
— ANI (@ANI) June 28, 2018
The video was captured through cameras mounted on the helmets of the commandos and drones hovering in the sky.
Seven terror launch pads were destroyed in a nearly five-hour-long operation, conducted days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had warned that Uri attack, in which 17 Army personnel were killed, would not go unpunished.