PM, others pay tributes to slain CRPF men on Pulwama attack anniversary
New Delhi, Feb 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday led the nation in paying tribute to the 40 CRPF personnel killed in a suicide attack in Pulwama a year ago and said India will never forget their martyrdom.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, ministers Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and Hardeep Puri as well as AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal were among those who remembered those killed when a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel was attacked on February 14 last year.
Modi said the slain security personnel were "exceptional individuals" who devoted their lives to serving and protecting the nation.
"Tributes to the brave martyrs who lost their lives in the gruesome Pulwama attack last year. They were exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to serving and protecting our nation. India will never forget their martyrdom," Modi tweeted.
A year ago, Jaish-e-Mohammed militant Adeel Ahmed Dar, driving an explosive-laden car, blew himself next to a convoy of security vehicles on the Jammu-Srinagar highway at Lethpora in south Kashmir's Pulwama, killing 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers.
A memorial was also inaugurated at the Lethpora camp today. The names of all the 40 personnel along with their pictures are part of the memorial along with the CRPF motto ‘Seva and Nishtha' (Service and Loyalty).
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the country was united in its fight against terrorism.
"Remembering the fallen @crpfindia personnel who were martyred during the dastardly attack in Pulwama (J&K) on this day in 2019. India will never forget their sacrifice. Entire nation stands united against terrorism and we are committed to continue our fight against this menace," he said.
Union minister Smriti Irani, said she salutes the "brave sons of mother India".
"On the first anniversary of the dastardly Pulwama terror attack, I join the nation in paying homage to the sacrifice of our soldiers," said her colleague Hardeep Puri.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal called the personnel martyrs and offered them his "heartfelt homage".
BJP president J P Nadda also hailed the sacrifice of the CRPF personnel.
"India will always remember their martyrdom. We should all unite to completely end terrorism from its very roots," he said on Twitter.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also remembered the CRPF personnel and expressed solidarity with their families.
"Solemnly remembering the CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama on this day in 2019 after a terror attack. We salute our brave jawans and extend our solidarity and condolences to their families. Jai Hind," Banerjee said in a tweet.
Who benefitted from Pulwama strike, asks Rahul
BJP calls him LeT, Jaish sympathiser
New Delhi, Feb 14: The Pulwama suicide attack was at the centre of a bitter war of words between the opposition and the BJP on Friday with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asking who benefitted from the strike and the ruling party accusing him of being a "known sympathiser" of LeT and JeM militant groups.
While the Congress as well as the CPI-M raised questions on accountability, the BJP hit back to say Gandhi was insulting the memory of the 40 CRPF personnel killed in Pulwama on February 14 last year.
In a blistering attack on the government, Gandhi paid homage to the slain CRPF men and also asked what was the outcome of the inquiry into the attack.
"Today as we remember our 40 CRPF martyrs in the #PulwamaAttack , let us ask: 1. Who benefitted the most from the attack? 2. What is the outcome of the inquiry into the attack? 3. Who in the BJP Govt has yet been held accountable for the security lapses that allowed the attack?" he asked on Twitter.
The ruling party's stinging response came almost immediately after Gandhi's controversial tweet.
"Shame on you," said BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao.
"When nation is paying homage to martyrs of dastardly Pulwama attack, @RahulGandhi, a known sympathizer of LeT & Jaish-e-Mohammad, chooses to target not just the government but security forces as well. Rahul will never question real culprit, Pakistan...," Rao said on Twitter.
"This is an insult to martyrs who sacrificed their life for the country. Congress has done this in past as well and people taught them a lesson for this blunder. Such remarks by Rahul Gandhi help Pakistan counter India on international platforms," added his party colleague Shahnawaz Hussain.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said there were many questions pertaining to the Pulwama attack that remained unanswered and asked the Centre to throw light on this.
About the attack, he said, "Still many questions are unanswered."
"Why is the government hesitating from making public the report about the Pulwama attack? Who had brought 350 kg RDX and IED and how was it brought?
"How did the RDX and IED-laden vehicle used in the attack enter the security convoy and how it managed to blow up the CRFP vehicle?" he said at a news conference.
Surjewala also asked if suspended Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police Davinder Singh, who was arrested for helping militants, had any role in the Pulwama incident.
"Does Davinder Singh has any role in this?" he asked.
The Congress leader also alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi continued shooting for a film in the Corbett National Park on February 14 despite the Pulwama attack taking place in the afternoon that day.
"Despite such major terror attack, why did the prime minister not come to know about it for 8-9 hours, when he was shooting film in Corbett Park and eating tea, pakodas and taking a boat ride before a camera. We are worried that a prime minister does not come to know about such a big attack, what can be more security lapse than this," he claimed.
Surjewala said, "The real homage to the Pulwama martyrs today will be that the country's home minister should come forward and tell the nation about these questions that remain unanswered."
Where's inquiry report? Who has been held accountable, asks CPI(M)
New Delhi, Feb 14: On the first anniversary of the Pulwama attack, the CPI(M) on Friday questioned the government about the inquiry report of the incident and demanded its accountability, while accusing the BJP of seeking for votes in the name of the CRPF personnel killed in the attack.
"Where is the Inquiry report one year on after the terror attack? Who has been held accountable for the loss of so many lives and the massive intelligence failure?" CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted.
He paid homage to the slain CRPF personnel, and castigated the BJP for seeking votes in the name of the slain security personnel.
"Modi and the BJP directly asked for votes in the name of the martyrs of Pulwama. What has been done for the survivors and the families of those who laid down their lives for the nation?" Yechury said in another tweet.
Earlier, a controversy erupted when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim questioned the government on the attack.
Salim said the Pulwama attack was a result of "incompetence" as he questioned the need for building a memorial for the slain personnel.
"We don't need a memorial to remind us of our incompetence. The only thing we need to know is how 80 kg of RDX got past the international borders to the 'most militarised zone on earth and exploded in Pulwama. Justice for Pulwama attack needs to be done," he tweeted.