The Uri attack suspected to have been carried out by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on Sunday drew fierce condemnation across political spectrum with Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowing that those behind the "despicable and cowardly" act will not go unpunished while Congress termed it "deplorable and cowardly."
President Pranab Mukherjee condemned the terrorist attack in Uri saying that India will not be cowed down by such attacks. In an apparent reference to Pakistan, the President stated that Indian Security forces will thwart the evil designs of terrorists & their backers, while he also condoled the loss of life of the 17 jawans killed in the assault.
Strongly condemn outrageous terrorist attack on Army base in Uri; tributes to brave soldiers who made supreme sacrifice #PresidentMukherjee
— President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) September 18, 2016
Reacting to the attacks Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that she condemns the attack which appear to be another attempt to destabilise the Valley, adding that it's always the people of the Valley who lose in the hostility between the two nations. The chief minister said that the attack was aimed at creating a war-like situation between India and Pakistan. She said those responsible for sponsoring and aiding violence must understand the futility of their exercise as it would yield nothing but misery for the people.
"The heightened tension in the wake of the Uri attack is set to further vitiate the atmosphere in and around Jammu and Kashmir amid increasing India-Pakistan hostility," she warned.
"Strongly condemn UriAttack. Attack seems to be aimed at triggering fresh violence and creating a war-like situation in the region, Mehbooba said as she expressed her condolences to bereaved families. "J&K has always been worst victim of Indo-Pak hostility & its ppl have been paying a colossal price for same for past over 6 decades," Mehbooba said.
Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh also slammed Pakistan over the terror attack and said the neighbouring country was working only on disturbing the state. Asked how terrorists could infiltrate India and carry out the attack, Singh said: "The border is long." The minister also blamed the "situation during monsoons". "It is a proxy war. A country that is Pakistan is focusing on how to disturb Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked tough after the terror strike on an army camp in Uri, promising that those behind the "despicable and cowardly" attack would not go unpunished.
Strongly denouncing the attack, the Prime Minister saluted the soldiers who were martyred and said their service to the nation will always be remembered.
"We strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Uri. I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished," Modi tweeted on the incident in which 17 soldiers were killed and 19 injured. "We salute all those martyred in Uri. Their service to the nation will always be remembered. My thoughts are with the bereaved families," he said.
The sneak attack on Indian army bastion also evoked condemnation the US Ambassador to India Richard Verma reacted to the incident in a tweet.
We strongly condemn the terror attack in Uri, J&K. Our thoughts are with the families of the brave soldiers who lost their lives #UriAttack
— Rich Verma (@USAmbIndia) September 18, 2016
Meanwhile amid reports that 13 out of the 17 soldiers who died at Uri were killed because of the fire in tents and temporary shelters, the Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference (NC) Chief Omar Abdullah drew attention to the lack of facilities soldiers deal with while manning our borders.
While we work out who is to blame for #Uri & what an appropriate response will be do we not owe our troops flame retardant tents & huts?
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) September 18, 2016
Major political parties and leaders also strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Uri, with the Congress expressing hope that the perpetrators and "the forces behind them" will be severely dealt with. "Congress President Sonia Gandhi has expressed shock and deep distress over the martyrdom of Indian soldiers in the dastardly terrorist attack in Uri," a party statement said.
Terming the "cowardly" terror attack as a "deplorable affront on our national conscience", Gandhi expressed hope that "the perpetrators of this dastardly attack as also the forces behind them will be severely dealt with and brought to book." Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also condemned the attack.
Strongly condemn the militant attack on Army base in Uri. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the bravehearts martyred in the attack
— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) September 18, 2016
Former Home Minister P Chidambaram and senior Congress leader also asked the government to mobilise security forces to prevent infiltration of terrorists from across the border in the wake of terror attack in Uri.
In a statement, Chidambaram said it has become necessary to strengthen the border defence to prevent such terrorist attacks.
"Government must mobilise all resources, manpower and material, to strengthen border defence to prevent infiltration of terrorists," the senior Congress leader said. Chidambaram said he was shocked and distressed by terror attack in Uri and expressed his gratitude to the martyred soldiers.
The CPM Central Committee, now in session in Delhi, asked Pakistan to stop aiding and abetting extremist forces, while strongly condemning the attack.
Party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury told reporters that Pakistan must refrain from indulging in cross border terrorism and demanded that the matter "should be taken up seriously."
In a statement, CPM said Pakistan must stop aiding and abetting the extremist forces as such activities are a big impediment to the peace process in the region.
It also charged the government with failing to stop continued infiltration of militants despite deploying a large number of security personnel across the state.
Pointing out that it has been consistently maintaining that terrorism is not the solution to the Kashmir issue, it said "the CPM would like to reiterate that for a long-standing solution of the Kashmir problem, the political dialogue with all stakeholders as advocated by the all Party delegation should be initiated without any further delay.
However, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad blamed Prime Minister Modi for the attacks. Taking a dig at the Prime Minister, Lalu said his failure to tackle the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was responsible for the attack on an army camp near Uri. Taking a swipe at the Narendra Modi government, Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra questioned whether it is the "NDA government or NiNDA (condemnation) government. He was referring to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement in which he had condemned the attack
"Modi ki laparwahi aur nakaami se jawan marae ja rahein hain. Kahan gaya Modi ka 56-inch ka seena? (Soldiers are dying due to the failure and negligence of Modi; where is his 56-inch chest now?)," Lalu told the media.
AAP too lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government, terming it a "grave failure. Hitting out at the Centre over the Uri attack that left today 17 soldiers dead, the AAP said the assault was the result of "grave failure" of diplomacy and someone has to take responsibility for it. Taking a swipe at the Narendra Modi government, Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra questioned whether it is the "NDA government or NiNDA (condemnation) government. He was referring to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement in which he had condemned the attack.
Attacking the Defence Minister, AAP leader Ashutosh said when the attack took place, Manohar Parrikar was in Goa. "Same was the case when the Pathankot terror attack took place and Ordnance factory got gutted," he said.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in Bengaluru: "It is absolutely condemnable ... They can continuously keep threatening us with these activities, but India is strong enough to take care of its internal security and no such threat is going to deter us from restoring peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir."
Minister of State, PMO, Jitendra Singh also took a tough stance stating that there has been enough condemnation on India's part, not taking action against such provocations is also an act of terror. "I think that simply saying this as an act of cowardice does not suffice, because not responding would also be cowardice" Jitendra Singh said according to ANI.
Textile Minister Smriti Irani also took to twitter to condemn the attack and condole the loss of lives.
Pained by the mindless terror attack in Uri. I salute our brave soldiers for their supreme sacrifice & extend condolences to their families.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) September 18, 2016
Meanwhile, talking tough, BJP leader Ram Madhav asserted that days of strategic restraint are over and suggested that "for one tooth, the complete jaw" should be the policy after the Uri terror attack. "The Prime Minister has promised that those behind the Uri terror attack will not go unpunished. That should be the way forward. For one tooth, the complete jaw," said Madhav, who is BJP's pointsman for Jammu and Kashmir. "The days of so-called strategic restraint are over. If terrorism is the instrument of the weak and coward, restraint in the face of repeated terror attacks betrays inefficiency and incompetence. India should prove otherwise," he said.
Hitting out at Pakistan over the Uri terror strike that left 17 soldiers dear, Union minister M Venkiah Naidu also said "our neighbour" as usual aiding, abetting, training and funding terrorists and India can't take it lying down and the country needs to be isolated. "We will have to respond and punish the perpetrators of Uri terrorist attack," the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister said.
BJP President Amit Shah said India has been fighting against terrorism for long and the fight is in its decisive stages. "Pakistan has been supporting terrorism and terrorist outfits to destabilise India. India has been fighting against terror and this fight is in the decisive stages now. The martyrdom of country's brave soldiers won't be allowed to go waste," Shah said in a statement. Condoling the death of the soldiers he added, "I am deeply pained at the news of the death of our 17 brave soldiers. I bow to their valour and the supreme sacrifice they made in difficult conditions."
In Ranchi, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das also condemned the terror strike and expressed deep grief at the loss of martrys. He expressed deep grief at the loss of martyrs, an official release said.
Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also strongly condemned the terror attack. "The Chief Minister is deeply saddened by the martyrdom of 17 soldiers in a terror attack at headquarters of 12th Army Brigade near LOC in Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir," an official release said.
Condemning the attack, Kumar hailed the valour and dedication of the soldiers towards service to the nation by laying down their lives in the terror strike, the release said.
"The country will always remember the supreme sacrifice made by those soldiers attaining martyrdom in the Uri terror attack," it said.
In one of the deadliest attacks on the Army in recent years, heavily armed militants stormed battalion headquarters of the force in Uri town in the wee hours on Sunday. Four militants involved in the terror strike were killed by the Army.
With inputs from agencies