Antony amends statement on soldiers' killing, pacifies opposition
Defence Minister A.K. Antony pacified the opposition Thursday by amending his earlier statement to blame the Pakistan army for killing of five Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.
"The chief of army staff visited the area and it is now clear that specialist troops of Pakistan Army were involved in this attack when a group from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and killed our brave jawans," Antony said in a statement.
"We all know that nothing happens from Pakistan side of the LoC without the support, assistance, facilitation and often direct involvement of the Pakistan Army," added Antony.
Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj thanked him.
"I am grateful to the defence minister for correcting his statement. We were not trying to play politics. I am glad that he admitted his mistake. Kindly ensure that this does not happen in the future," she said in the house after the minister's statement.
Antony was under attack from the opposition for his earlier statement where he had told parliament that "20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons in Pakistan Army uniform" were responsible for the killings.
On Thursday, Antony gave a stern message when he called upon Pakistan to punish those responsible for this attack and the one early this year when one soldier was beheaded and the body of the other was mutilated.
"Those in Pakistan who are responsible for this tragedy, (and) brutal killing of our two soldiers earlier this year should not go unpunished," he said.
He said the incident will impact relations between the two countries.
"Naturally this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the LoC and for our relations with Pakistan. Our restraint should not be taken for granted nor should the capacity of armed forces and resolve of the government to uphold the sanctity of the LoC ever be doubted," he added.
The members wanted to question the defence minister but the speaker did not allow it.
The Congress said future course of action will depend on Antony's statement.
"What will happen will be as per the statement," Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar said.
Both houses of parliament were disrupted over issues including demands for a united Andhra Pradesh and protests over the naming of BJP and TDP members in the Rajya Sabha bulletin for violation of rules.
In the Lok Sabha, Congress and Telugu Desam Party members raised the Telangana issue while members from the Shiromani Akali Dal waved newspapers carrying reports of Sikhs having to remove their turbans at an airport in Italy.
The house could take up only two questions because of the disruptions, prompting Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani said that in the last several years, he had not seen such pandemonium.
The Rajya Sabha was disrupted as opposition members slammed the government for naming BJP and TDP members in the bulletin of the upper house for violation of rules.
The BJP staged a walkout and boycotted the house.
BJP's Venkaiah Naidu slammed the government for discrimination as the Congress members who violated the rules were not named in the bulletin.
"Why this discrimination? What is the rule? Naming of members of one party and showing discrimination is not acceptable. We denounce it," he said.
The issue was resolved later on.
The Rajya Sabha also passed the Companies Bill, which had earlier been passed in the lower house.
Both the houses will now meet on Monday, Friday being a holiday on the occasion of Eid.
(Posted on 08-08-2013)