Rahul Gandhi questions Narendra Modi's silence on Chinese intrusion; nationalism not 'exclusive monopoly' of BJP, says Congress

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that China has taken away India's territory in Ladakh and questioned the prime minister's silence, as the opposition party stepped up its attack on the issue demanding that the government fix accountability.

Press Trust of India June 11, 2020 07:24:45 IST
Rahul Gandhi questions Narendra Modi's silence on Chinese intrusion; nationalism not 'exclusive monopoly' of BJP, says Congress

New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday alleged that China has taken away India's territory in Ladakh and questioned the prime minister's silence, as the opposition party stepped up its attack on the issue demanding that the government fix accountability.

The party also hit back at Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for his remarks against Rahul Gandhi, saying instead of addressing the concerns of the country voiced by the Congress leader Prasad has made a "very unfair and completely irresponsible" political attack.

It accused the government of taking an "ostrich-like" approach to the issue and demanded that it tell the country what steps it intends to take to push back the Chinese army.

"The Chinese have walked in and taken our territory in Ladakh. Meanwhile. The PM is absolutely silent and has vanished from the scene," Gandhi said on Twitter.

He tagged a news article claiming that China has taken a hard line during military-level talks and has claimed all of Galwan Valley and parts of Pangong Tso.

Rahul Gandhi questions Narendra Modis silence on Chinese intrusion nationalism not exclusive monopoly of BJP says Congress

FIle Image of Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the prime minister should tell the country what he is doing to remove the Chinese from the Indian territory and who was responsible for it.

"Unfortunately, rather than coming clean with the country and honestly address concerns, the Law Minister launched an extremely ill-considered, irresponsible and intemperate attack on former Congress chief, when he reiterated these concerns," Tewari said.

Prasad had criticised Gandhi for raising questions on the sensitive issue related to national security on Twitter at a time when the country needs to speak in one voice.

"We want to tell them that patriotism and nationalism is not the exclusive monopoly of the NDA-BJP and much less the law minister," Tewari said.

"Asking hard questions to the government is not unpatriotic, not replying to them is unpatriotic," he said.

Tewari said former Army generals and defense experts feared that around 40-60 square kilometres of Indian territory had been "illegally occupied" by China.

"We would officially like to ask the NDA-BJP Government as the principal opposition party of the country, is it a fact that the Chinese have illegally occupied 40-60 square kilometers of our territory?

"We also want to ask the prime minister about the Chinese intrusion. How did the Chinese soldiers enter India? Will the government decide its accountability? The country wants to know this," Tewari said at an online press conference.

Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged since 5 May following a violent clash in Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.

The Congress leader said Modi should tell the country that from May 5 till now, how much of India's land had been occupied by the Chinese army.

"We want to ask the prime minister what the government is doing to remove the Chinese army from the Pangong Tso Lake in Galwan Valley, where China is sitting with its soldiers and tents," he asked.

He accused the Centre of trying to push the issue into cold storage and of adopting an "ostrich-like approach".

"After the first round of military to military talks between the Indian Army and the People Liberation Army has there been a pullback by the PLA and if there has been a pullback, what is the extent of the pullback," he asked.

Tewari also questioned whether the Chinese have withdrawn beyond the perception line or have they withdrawn beyond what is the Line of Actual Control according to India.

"What is the government doing to restore status quo ante as on 1 April 2020 in Galwan Valley, in Pangong Tso lake because these are extremely strategic areas," he asked.

According to Tewari, it is unfortunate that rather than answering questions, the government was using "abrasive language" against the opposition party.

The names of Pangong Tso Lake, Galwan Valley, Naku La were never heard of by Indians, he said, but today "even children know about it because these are all the places where Chinese soldiers have encroached" on Indian land".

The situation in the area deteriorated after around 250 Chinese and Indian soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on 5 and 6 May.

The incident in Pangong Tso was followed by a similar incident in north Sikkim on May 9. The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC).

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