After the television channels broadcasted the video of surgical strikes conducted by the Indian Army across the Line of Control (LoC) in September 2016, the opposition parties launched a scathing attack against the Modi government for misusing it for deriving political mileage. The video has been released at a time when the government is facing criticism from all quarters for its poor governance and mismanaging the economy. With a year to go for the Lok Sabha polls, the Modi government is trying every trick in the book to garner the attention of voters. Isn’t airing the video a threat to the national security as neighbouring nations will become aware of India’s defence strategy? Why didn’t the government take steps to ensure that the videos were not leaked on television?
BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “I don’t think that national security gets compromised due to this viral video. The entire world had viewed the assassination video of Osama bin Laden. Congress is politicising this issue. When we had carried out the surgical strike, Congress had raised questions against it.”
Instead of working for the welfare of the armed forces, the government is busy trying to cash in on surgical strikes. The government has failed to provide additional funds for emergency procurement of ammunition and spares. Therefore, the Indian Army has decided to reduce its supplies from the state-owned ordnance factories. As a result of this, soldiers will have to shell out money from their own pockets for purchasing uniforms and other clothes from the civilian markets.
Indian Army PRO Col Aman Anand confirmed the viral videos to be genuine but refused to comment further about it.
On one hand, the cross-border terrorism in Kashmir has been increasing but the government has failed to stop it. Instead, it blamed the PDP for the rising insurgency in the valley and withdrew support to it in Jammu and Kashmir. Even Shiv Sena criticised Modi and said that while the PM is busy in foreign trips, people are being killed in Jammu and Kashmir.
Congress MLC Anant Gadgil said, “Why the footage of surgical strike is being released now? BJP is doing it deliberately. The video has been released with an eye on the election and the security of the nation can be compromised.”
“Surgical strike also occurred during the Congress reign but we never publicised it. If the government had released this video then our reaction would have been different. However, if this act has not been done by them, then how did people get access to the video?” he added.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala lashed out at the Modi government and stated that on one hand the jawans are sacrificing their lives for the sake of the nation and on the other hand, the government is taking political mileage out of it. He said, “The erstwhile government too had carried out such kind of operations but they didn’t publicise it. Former prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh didn’t boast of the success of Army operations carried out during their tenure. There was no need to release the video of the surgical strike as the entire nation respects the army.”
NCP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Majeed Memon said, “The video of surgical strikes should not have been released as it poses a threat to the national security. There should not be any compromise on the national security for political gains. It is not a right step to derive cheap publicity pertaining to the secret operation carried out by the Indian Army. The government should restrict the broadcast of such videos.”
This is not the first instance when the government has used surgical strike issue to attract voters. Two years back, the government had released advertisements about the surgical strike carried against Pakistan. During that period too, it had received flak for publicising surgical strikes. Congress had then had demanded proof from the government to back its claim.
Former union minister and BJP leader Arun Shourie termed the surgical strike carried against Pakistan as “farzical” (fake strike). He stated, “The Indian Army does the job while the government takes credit for it. The word ‘farzical’ was not used against the army but for the government. The situation in Kashmir has not improved and residents are undergoing severe hardships. The Modi government is event-oriented and election-oriented.” On the other hand, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy stated that by providing the video of surgical strike BJP has proved that the operations were genuine.