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Mudda panellists answer question which emerges in wake of broadcast of first videos of surgical strike, many feel it was the right move

As the video of a surgical strike was made public, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala raised questions on the politicisation of the issue in a press conference. He criticised the move and accused the government of not providing the army with state-of-the-art equipment and slashing its budgetary allocation. He said: “Is the Modi government endangering our ‘security infrastructure’? Is the Modi government guilty of putting the life of our soldiers in danger? Is the Modi government using our ‘soldiers’ as ‘political fodder’—using their sacrifice for vote garnering?”

To this, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad retorted: “Does the Congress believe there was a surgical strike or not? Are they saying the video is fake? Do they think the surgical strike was right or not?”

Thursday’s edition of Mudda, APN’s daily current affairs show, discussed the issue. Moderated by Akshay Singh, the guests were BJP leader Ashok Thakur, JDU spokesperson Syed Afzal Abbas, Congress spokesperson Kamlesh Rai, security expert Lt Gen AK Bakshi (retd), Col Ramdev Singh (retd) and APN consulting editor Govind Pant Raju.

Ashok Thakur said: “First, the Congress wanted proof of any surgical strike and now that the video has come out they are calling it a political agenda. They should be proud of the army’s valour and applaud the government’s courage. But all they are doing is questioning the whole issue.”

AK Baksi said that such an operation on such a big scale has happened for the first time and we should be proud of our army. He added: “It is true that surgical strikes were done during Congress rule but they were of small scale. Also, no one questioned that. The strike was for more than 250 km and with six launches and in one night. They came back without any casualties. This is a big thing. This is a milestone. After the World War II no operation of such massive scale has been carried out till date… no one should politicise it.”

Syed Afzal Abbas said that they do not support anyone who questions the valour of the Indian army and tries to politicise it.

Ram Dev Singh said: “I support Bakshi that there has been no other operation like this till date after the World War II. This was carried out after continuous terrorist attacks and ceasefire violations. Why are we politicizing it instead of applauding it? Why are we weakening the army with the poison of dirty politics that has eaten up our society? It is high time that the government frames policies to safeguard the army from any politics.”

Govind Pant Raju too said it is dirty politics. He said: “This operation has set an example for the whole world. If any political party questions the video, it is shocking. Last time too when the Congress has raised doubts, video was made public and the matter was settled. Now again they are doing the same thing. They should think about its repercussions. It hampers the morals of the army.”

Kamlesh Rai explained that Surjewala did not question the courage of the army, it criticised the way the BJP was taking all the credits. He said: “Congress has always respected the army. We should not question their courage and strength. The BJP should focus on issues like unemployment and inflation. The Congress never took any credits for what the army did during its time.”

—Compiled by Usha Rani Das

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