By Nitya Chakraborty
The explosive facts mentioned by the former Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik in his interview with the news portal The Wire last week, have not elicited any response till now from the PM’s office though the veteran politician blamed the Prime Minister and the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh for the lapses.PM who takes every decision himself, be it security related or foreign policy has been maintaining silence as usual and it is not likely that he will be anything different this time. But the dimension of the allegations is so widespread that the opposition parties cannot view it as another PM related issue like Rafale purchase or hiring the spyware Pegasus.
Former Army Chief Sankar Roychowdhury in an interview has explained the seriousness of the allegation about the denial of permission by the Centre to the CRPF for carrying the jawans through plane and forcing the CRPF bosses to organize transport of the concerned from Jammu to Srinagar through highways which have been vulnerable to the terror attack all through.. This error led to the killings of 40 jawans by the terrorists. Two other retired army officers in a press conference on Tuesday at the Congress Party headquarters demanded that the Government of India should publish a white paper on Pulwama attacks describing how the attacks took place and why the CRPF was denied the facility of a aircraft for transporting jawans.
The two military veterans wanted that the proposed White Paper should look into the nature of intelligence failures as also the respective roles of the home ministry, defence ministry and the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and finally the Prime Minister. The demand is fine but as the situation stands now, there is no possibility that the Government will agree to such a Paper as the focus is on the Prime Minister who spent most part of the day of Pulwama massacre in a documentary shooting at Corbett Park and he was unavailable for communicating.
In the western countries, there are some set rules for investigations relating to the top government leaders including the Prime Minister. Right now, in Britain, an investigation is on by a Parliamentary Committee to probe whether the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murthy gained financially through some investment in a company and that was not reported. This was started on the basis of a media report and nobody from Sunak’s office objected to this. Such investigation where the PM is involved is impossible in India. Any issue related to the PM is sidelined and this will come for discussion only if the PM agrees.
Taking the present nature of functioning of the Parliament and the behaviour of the BJP members in stonewalling every genuine demands of the opposition for probe, it is very much certain that the Narendra Modi government will not agree to any white paper on the basis of allegations made by Satya Pal Malik. The BJP ecosystem has already started dubbing the army veterans demanding fresh probe into Pulwama as ‘ anti-nationals’ and this trend will continue whether PM finally breaks his silence on this issue or not. Even if the opposition demands a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe the Pulwama massacre based on Malik’s allegations, that is also not expected to bring any immediate benefit.
Firstly, the BJP members will not allow the issue to be discussed in Parliament. Second, if even a JPC is formed, it will contain majority of ruling party MPs. So the JPC report will have the same fate like any other earlier report. Both the demand for White paper and JPC are not the solutions for finding out the truth behind the massacre.
The best option for the opposition is to demand for a Supreme Court monitored probe to go into the entire allegations made by the J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik and the points made by the retired army veterans. The issue is of great national security importance and the Supreme Court has to hear it on priority basis. The most potent weapon at the hands of the opposition is the view expressed by the former army chief Shankar Roychowdhury that the primary responsibility for the deaths of CRPF jawans in the Pulwama terror attack rests ‘on the government headed by the Prime Minister, who is advised by the national security adviser’.
The former Army chief said that all large bodies of vehicles and convoys moving along the national highway are always vulnerable to attack. He said that the area where the Pulwama terror attack had occurred had always been a very “vulnerable sector”.
“The road that goes along Samba (31km from Satwari airport) in Jammu is always vulnerable owing to infiltration that happens by tunnelling,” he told The Telegraph. “The more traffic you pump along the interstate highway, you expose them to risks because the border is not very far away from Pakistan all throughout,” said the general, who commanded the 16 Corps in Jammu and Kashmir between 1991 and 1992.
General Roychowdhury also agreed with Malik’s statement that the terror attack was the result of an intelligence failure. Malik said that while the RDX, an explosive substance, which was used in the attack came from Pakistan, the fact that a car that was “roaming around” in Kashmir for days before the attack and could not be located was an intelligence and security system failure.
“It’s a slip-up that the government is trying to wash its hands of. I strongly believe that the troops should have been ferried across by aircraft, which are available with the civil aviation department, Air Force or BSF,” the former army chief told Telegraph, adding, “Failure has no claimants.”
So, this devastating statement on the failure of the Modi government on Pulwama massacre has been given by an army veteran who has long experience in commanding in that Jammu sector nearing the border with Pakistan. His comments are not of a politician,. He has talked as the former army chief who knows everything about logistics. The Supreme Court can not avert this petition if it is filed. The opposition has to take an immediate move to file a petition in the Supreme Court demanding probe into Pulwama massacre monitored by it. (IPA Service)