|JAMMU, : The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and the former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Thursday slammed NDA government for brazenly claiming undue credit for surgical strikes, which was purely an army prerogative to serve its political ends.
Further taking a dig at the central government, he said despite its credit-claiming game, even the surgical strikes failed to give respite to people along the border and it earned an unenviable achievement i.e., highest ceasefire violations along Indo-Pak border during its rule.
He was talking to media persons after visiting the border-shelling victims under treatment in the Government Medical College Hospital and Super-Specialty Hospital, Jammu.
“Since the NDA government came, there have been a large number of ceasefire violations and these are the highest in past two-and-a-half-years as compared to UPA rule,” Azad said.
He mocked that the central government (ministers and other leaders) could be seen on television giving threats to Pakistan, but there was no positive result on the ground, instead people were paying the cost of those threats on the borderline in Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Rajouri and Poonch districts.
Later while addressing a gathering in Ramgarh sector on the International Border where he visited to take stock of problems being faced by the border firing affected population, Azad said that Pakistan’s political leadership and its army had lost their mental balance. “It was proved as they were targeting Indian civilians during ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“In clear violation of all norms of conduct and discipline, the Pakistan army has been targeting innocent civilians in the border areas in Jammu and Kashmir. This indicates that their army and rulers have lost their mental balance,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.
He also flayed the central and state governments for allegedly doing nothing to alleviate the sufferings of border villagers in the wake of Pakistan shelling.
“I will raise my voice for your rights in the ensuing Parliament session and ensure that the promises made to you are fulfilled,” he assured the affected people.
Earlier the former Chief Minister arrived this morning for his proposed visit to Rangoor village near the India-Pakistan border, but security forces did not allow him beyond the defence ditches dug up to fortify Border Security Force positions along the border.
Azad also visited the Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu to take stock of problems being faced by the villagers injured in Pakistan shelling and firing.
Many of the injured, especially from Suchetgarh area, complained to him that they had lost many cattle due to shelling but had received no compensation. Azad assured he would take up the issue with the authorities concerned.
Earlier, on his arrival here from New Delhi, Azad straightway drove to the residence of senior Congress leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma who passed away early this morning. From there he visited the GMC Hospital and met the injured and enquired about their condition and expressed sympathies with them.
Later he visited the border areas in Swankha migrant camp and Rangoor village, where six persons were killed in Pak shelling besides injuries to several persons. He met the border residents in camps and listened to their woes and their demands. He expressed sympathies with affected families and expressed grave shock over the loss of lives and injuries to several people during the past few days in Pak shelling.
The border residents explained their plight and complained that the government failed to take care of them in this crucial time, when Pakistan was targeting the civilian population. They expressed strong resentment over the attitude of the Centre and state government for their failure to fulfill the promises made to them during elections, especially providing alternate plots at safe places and safe shelters. They also complained about lack of adequate facilities in their border areas like health care and ambulances, in time of need, besides lack of disbursement of relief and rehabilitation for the loss of lives and live-stock.
Azad, while expressing solidarity with them , assured to take up their demands and raise their issues in Parliament. He justified their demands for provision of alternate accommodation in safer zones in shape of 5 marlas plots, adequate relief for the loss of lives and properties, provision of students hostels, more employment opportunities and extending the benefits of reservation to the border residents near IB, on the pattern of reservation to resident of LOC, in the state.
He strongly condemned Pakistan for targeting the unarmed civilian population on this side, which he said was the worst violation of international norms and human values. He accused Pakistan of resorting to innocent killings and destructions in civilian areas, which he said was a matter of great concern.
Azad also regretted that the Modi government failed to fulfill the promises made to the people of border areas of the state, during the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, as a result they continued to face great hardships and loss of lives and properties. He said that congress party would raise their issues in the upcoming session of parliament and seek appropriate response from the government in this regard.
Azad was also accompanied by senior functionaries and leaders of the party including senior vice president Sham Lal Sharma, former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, vice president Raman Bhalla, Chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, general secretaries Manjit Singh, Yogesh Sawhney, Dr Manohar Lal Sharma besides others.
Manjit Singh former minister being local leader of the area, highlighted the hardships of the people and failure of the government to respond to their genuine needs at the time of crisis. Azad assured to extend all possible help in order to resolve their issues and reduce their hardships.