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Cong has insulted martyrdom of soldiers, put question mark on national security: Shah
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   3/23/2019 2:10:00 PM

(Eds: Adding para 3)

New Delhi, Mar 23 (PTI)
BJP chief Amit Shah Saturday asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to clear his party's stand on Sam Pitroda's comments questioning the government's aggressive action against Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack, saying the opposition party has "insulted" martyrdom of soldiers and put a question mark on the nation's security.

Launching a fresh offensive against the Congress, Shah said the opposition party is known for its "vote bank" and "appeasement" politics during elections, but Gandhi should answer whether it is above national interest and if such politics can be done over the grief of families of soldiers killed.

Shah also asked Gandhi to apologise to the country, to the families of those killed in the Pulwama terror attack and armed forces for Pitroda's remarks, saying for the Congress to merely distance itself from his comments will not do.

Speaking to media, Shah said Congress leader Pitroda's remarks conveyed that the Pulwama terror attack was a "routine" incident carried out by a few people for which Pakistan cannot be blamed.

Pitroda, he added, also questioned surgical strikes and air strikes launched by the Indian armed forces.

"Does the Congress believe that terror incidents that happen in the country have nothing to do with the Pakistan government or Pakistan army?" Shah asked, seeking Gandhi's response.

The BJP chief said the Congress has a habit of playing down such comments of its leaders as their individual opinions, but it never takes any action against them while, many of whom are close to Gandhi, he added.

Pitroda, Indian Overseas Congress chief, had told media that one cannot "jump on entire nation" (Pakistan) just because some people from there "came here and attacked".

In an apparent reference to the Pulwama terror attack, the Congress leader had said attacks happen all the time and then referred to the Mumbai terror strikes in 2008 when the Congress-led UPA was in power, saying the then government could have sent its planes but that is "not the right approach".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had Friday cited Pitroda's comments to launch an all out attack against the Congress on the issues of terrorism and national security.