Sunday February 18, 2018
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Congress, BJP turn Pathankot attack into political fight

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New Delhi: Arguments erupted between  BJP and  Congress party on Monday over the Pathankot attack, as Congress questioned on BJP’s handling of the threat to the nation’s security and BJP replied saying Congress should not politicise sensitive issues like terrorism.

“Intelligence report on a terror module’s infiltration in Delhi, bomb scare on the Shatabdi Express train and all-around general security alert have created an atmosphere of insecurity, raising a question mark on the government’s ability to neutralise the threat with the alacrity it deserves,” Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said in a statement here.

“Seemingly, there is a lack of ‘command and control structure’ within the government to deal with, take control of and direct elimination of the terror attack like the one in Pathankot,” he added.

The main opposition party asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not describe as “Pakistanis” the terrorists who attacked the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.

“Why is the PM giving a new description of terrorists as ‘enemies of humanity’ instead of describing them as Pakistani terrorists?” Maken asked.

“In one of the most sinister terror attack since 26/11 ( November 26, 2008, attack in Mumbai), Pakistani terrorists have committed a dastardly attack on India’s security by storming the IAF base in Punjab, which is one of our principal first line of defence,” he said.

The Congress also criticised the government for not convening a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to assess the situation.

“As expected, the PM should have convened a CCS meeting with all his ministers, monitor the situation and provide a clear-cut unified command to give a befitting reply to Pakistani terrorists and their handlers in Pakistan,” the Congress leader said.

“Besides saving many lives in the process, Modi Ji should have sent a strong message of reassurance qua security to all countrymen and a stern warning to those in Pakistan that is exporting terror modules into India,” he added.

Taking a dig at Modi, Maken said: “Even as the neutralisation of terrorists at the Pathankot air base continued with our security forces fighting valiantly, Modi was propagating yoga to the gatherings in Karnataka.”

He said Modi also addressed a press conference amid the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack when he was the Gujarat chief minister.

The BJP criticised the Congress for flaying the government.

“In the midst of the operation, the Congress criticism is unfortunate. It should not politicise such a sensitive issue like terrorism,” BJP national secretary Srikant Sharma said.

“The menace of terrorism is four decades old and the NDA government has inherited it from the previous governments,” he added.

Sharma also said the Congress has no moral right to question the Modi government and its policies against terrorism.

“Those who are responsible for the menace of terrorism have no moral right to question those trying to solve it,” he said.

He also claimed that the government was a visible one and handled the Pathankot attack actively.

“The previous UPA regime’s approach towards terrorism was casual whereas the present government is active and visible. There was an input from security agencies and the government handled the issue prudently,” Sharma said.

On the Congress’s criticism that Modi had addressed a press conference amid the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, he said: “We will respond to the Congress’s allegation in their language at an appropriate time.”(IANS)

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BJP Offers Christians a Pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Is Religious Pilgrimage A New Playground For The Political Parties?

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community

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In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented. Wikimedia Commons
  • The political parties (BJP and Congress ) are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage in the coming local elections of the eastern states of India
  • The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively
  • After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022

The Campaign promises during the elections times are quite bizarre nowadays, from “I’ll cut your taxes,” to “vote for me, and I’ll set you free.”

In the coming local elections in the Christian- majority state of Nagaland in India the agenda by the rival BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Congress parties are unique: “Vote for us and get either a free or a heavily subsidized pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Yes, you read it right. The political parties are promising a free trip to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage. The offer has been put up by the Prime Minister Modi- led BJP for the upcoming elections. Even the local partners of the Congress party are treading up the same path.

Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons
Recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. Wikimedia Commons

The BJP has not made it clear yet if it is offering the scheme to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The Christian population in Meghalaya and Nagaland is almost 75 percent and 88 percent respectively. Nagaland is one of smallest states of India, with the population of just under two million people.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel for Haj without Mahram

As per the Tourism Ministry figures, around 58,000 Indian tourists came to Israel in 2017, a 47% increase from 2015.

The elections are scheduled for the February 27 in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month.

The AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi also tweeted on the double standard of the government and lashed out at the government for its discriminatory decision, ending Haj subsidy but allowing subsidies to continue for Hindu pilgrimages like the Mansarovar Yatra.

This would not be the first time that India has bankrolled pilgrimages for the Christians. Before this, the government had subsidized the Haj pilgrimage for the Muslim community. But recently, the central government decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage. The government cited the reason for the subsidy withdrawal as they wanted to utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls. After the Supreme Court’s intervention, the government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner by 2022.

Also Read: Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

The scheme is a clear cut example of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies. It seems quite contrary, on the one hand, the government is cutting down the benefit scheme for one section of the society and on the other hand, some other community is been offered the same thing. Such moves bring out the double standards of the political parties just for the sake of vote bank. In a country like India, such miscalculated steps could backfire in form of communal rights and the results could be unprecedented.

In 2011, Nigeria also did something same as that of India. For many years, their government financed a trip to Mecca for Muslims, leading to some 42,000 Nigerians visiting the country. But with the change in the government, subsidies have been cut considerably and now a 12-day pilgrimage costs around 2000 dollars. The change in stance has resulted in 78% decrease from 2011.