Govt makes amends, blames Pak Army for LoC killings

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Defence Minister AK Antony in the Lok Sabha i PTI Photo
Defence Minister AK Antony in the Lok Sabha i
PTI Photo

New Delhi, 8 Aug (PTI): After triggering huge furore, Government today made amends by blaming Pakistan Army for the killing of five Indian soldiers and said the incident will have consequences on India’s behaviour on the Line of Control and ties with Pakistan.

Defence Minister A K Antony asserted in Parliament that India’s restraint should not be taken for granted nor should the capacity of its armed forces and government’s resolve to uphold the sanctity of the LoC be doubted.

Antony, who faced BJP fury for the last two days, made a fresh statement in both Houses, saying his earlier contention about the involvement of “terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniform” was based on information available at that time.

Since then the Chief of Army Staff has visited the area and gone into the details of the matter, he said.

“It is now clear that specialist troops of the Pakistan Army were involved in the attack when a group from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) side crossed the LoC and killed our brave jawans,” he said in the statement aimed at controlling damage done by the earlier version.

“We all know that nothing happens from Pakistan side of LoC without support, assistance, facilitation and often, direct involvement of Pakistan Army,” Antony said.

In the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said her party was happy that the Defence Minister has “accepted his mistake” and rectified it.

BJP had been targeting Antony alleging that he had given clean chit to Pakistan Army and should apologise. The main opposition party paralysed Parliament for the last two days.

Taking a hard position, Antony told Parliament that the “brutal and unprovoked” attack on Indian side of the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir “outraged us all” and “naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the LoC and for our relations with Pakistan.”

Sending out a message to Pakistan, he said, “Our restraint should not be taken for granted; nor should the capacity of our armed forces and resolve of the Government to uphold the sanctity of LoC ever be doubted.”

Antony said, “Those in Pakistan who are responsible for this tragedy and the brutal killing of two soldiers earlier this year should not go unpunished.

“Pakistan should also show determined action to dismantle terrorists networks, organisations and infrastructure and show tangible movement on bringing those responsible for the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 to justice quickly,” he said.

Referring to his statement on Tuesday which created a huge political storm, he said, “When I reported the incident to the House, it was Government’s obligation to report the facts as we knew them at that point of time, and my statement was based on the available information.”

Soon after Antony’s fresh statement, Swaraj said, “We are happy that the Defence Minister has accepted his mistake and tried to rectify it…He has said the Pakistan army was involved and that our restraint should not be taken for granted.”

Taking on Congress, Swaraj suggested that those who had alleged BJP was playing politics over the killing of five Indian soldiers were wrong and that they should know that the party was trying to get corrected the Defence Minister’s statement made on Tuesday.

In Rajya Sabha, Antony could not complete the statement due to uproar caused by opposition over naming of 22 of its members for “gross disorderly conduct”.

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