The savage massacre of over 40 police personnel in south Kashmir, engineered by a Pakistan-affiliated terror group, has ignited national outrage in India, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi warning the perpetrators of the mayhem that they will have to pay “a heavy price.”
The terror attack on Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Pulwama by terrorists belonging to Jaish e-Mohammad (JEM) on February 14 united the political establishment in India, who condemned the barbaric killings in unambiguous words and called for swift punishment for attackers.
Mr Modi, whose government launched cross-border surgical strikes against Pakistani militants over two years ago, vowed that the architects of the Pulwama mayhem will have to pay a “heavy price.” “The terrorists…they have made a big mistake. You will have to pay a very heavy price…I assure everyone that the forces behind the attack…we will bring them to justice,” PM Modi said after chairing a meeting of senior ministers in New Delhi on February 15.
Anger & Outrage
“There is a lot of anger, people’s blood is boiling at what happened… I understand,” the prime minister said.
Mr Modi also warned Pakistan that India will give a fitting response to this barbarism. “The neighbouring country, if it thinks it can destabilize India, it can forget it. That will never happen,” he said, adding, “We will give a fitting response to this attack.”
The attack, Mr Modi underlined, was an outcome of Pakistan’s desperation as it had been forced to go to different countries with a “begging bowl” to meet even its daily expenses.
He also appealed to the opposition not to politicise the terror attack. “I urge everyone it’s an emotional and sensitive time. Whether in the government or opposition, we must stay away from politics. The country is together. Our unity will be a big factor in defeating the enemy.”
Acknowledging support from friendly nations who promptly condemned the attack, Mr Modi appealed for trans-national solidarity to defeat the scourge of terrorism. “When all countries come together, terrorism will not survive for long.”
In a retaliatory move, India revoked the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan, a largely symbolic step as bilateral trade with Pakistan is hardly anything substantial.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Srinagar for a first-hand assessment of the situation. Union Minister Arun Jaitley indicated that the government will launch an all-out campaign to isolate Pakistan. The government will initiate all possible diplomatic steps to ensure Pakistan’s “complete isolation,” Mr Jaitley said.
India’s relations with Pakistan, which are already under severe strain, are set to worsen further in days to come. India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and issued a strong demarche in connection with the Pulwama attack. He conveyed that Pakistan must take immediate and verifiable action against the JEM and it must immediately stop any groups or individuals associated with terrorism operating from its territories, said well-placed sources.
“Killing Indian soldiers like this is an act of war against India. India must explore all options to penalise Pakistan for this savage act of cross-border terror,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and World magazine.
“In the days to come, one can expect India to intensify its diplomatic outreach at the United Nations to isolate Pakistan and seek international support to sanction the UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar, the chief of JeM and the suspected mastermind of the Pulwama massacre,” said Mr Chand.
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