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Shah attacks Congress over national security

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NEW DELHI: BJP national president Amit Shah has attacked the Congress party over the issue of national security and accused the main opposition party of always being soft on terrorism.

Targeting Rahul Gandhi-led Congress, the BJP chief alleged that the main opposition party had always been “hesitant about terrorism, separatism and Naxalism”.

Shah made these remarks in a strongly-worded blog in which he reiterated that while Congress has always been soft on terror, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has firmly dealt with the issue of terrorism.

 

It may be recalled that Masood’s JeM had claimed the responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which at least 40 troopers were killed.

The BJP president maintained while India has used all diplomatic channels to build more pressure on Pakistan and isolate it at the global levels, parties like Congress were making statements favouring the neighbouring country.

“This shabby face of Pakistan has been exposed before the world…. In such a situation, Pakistan has been totally isolated… vis a vis militant mastermind Masood Azhar and his organization Jaish-e-Mohammad,” he said in his blog.

He continued by saying that some political parties, including the Congress, were questioning the government, raising doubts over the valour of the armed forces, which was “just helping militants”.

In the later part of his blog, the BJP president accused the Congress party of providing their consent to the then government to release terrorist like Masood Azhar.

He alleged that then Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh were part of the all-party meeting in which they had agreed to release Masood Azhar to bring back the passengers held hostage at Kandahar.

Shah also sought to remind that 10 years before the Kandahar flight hijacking, the then Congress government had released 10 terrorists in exchange for then Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed`s daughter Rubaiya Sayeed.

Training his guns at Rahul Gandhi, Shah said the Congress chief has been blaming the BJP for the release of JeM founder Masood Azhar during the earlier NDA government but before making such “insensitive remarks” he should think about the mistakes committed by his own party.

Shah further said that the decisions of his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru on China and Kashmir had “turned into cancer for the country”.

The hard-hitting blog from the BJP chief came after Rahul Gandhi asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not telling the nation that it was the earlier National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which had released Azhar – the man behind the Pulwama suicide bombing.

Gandhi made these remarks while addressing a public rally in Gandhinagar.

Shah added that by raising such questions, Rahul Gandhi was not just “displaying his insensitivity” but also questioning the ”wisdom of senior leaders of his own party.”

“This debate does not start nor end with the release of Masood Azhar. This list is long, and if discussed, the Congress will look like the guilty party,” he wrote in the blog.


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National

Pramod Sawant sworn in as 11th Goa CM

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Mumbai : Vijai Sardesai from the Goa Forward Party and Sudin Dhavalikar from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both alliance partners, have been inducted as Deputy Chief Ministers, Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik told reporters on the sidelines of the oath-taking ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
Sawant, 45, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Mridula Sinha at a formal ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan in the early hours of Tuesday.
Apart from Sawant and the two deputy Chief Ministers, nine other MLAs, all of them who were part of the previous BJP-led coalition cabinet headed by Parrikar, were also administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor and inducted as ministers in the state cabinet.
The Chief Minister said portfolios would be allotted to his ministers within eight days.
Sawant succeeds former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who died on Sunday due to complications arising from advanced pancreatic cancer.
The new Chief Minister heads a coalition government which has the support of 12 MLAs from the BJP, three each from the Goa Forward and MGP, and two independent MLAs, taking the tally of the treasury benches to 20 in the 36-member state legislative assembly.
“Parrikar is not among us now and this responsibility has been given collectively to me by my party, alliance partners and independent MLAs. This is a big responsibility,” Sawant told reporters soon after he was sworn in.
“I am committed to the development of Goa and to take forward the teachings of former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with a positive outlook,” Sawant also said, adding that he would focus on completing all infrastructure related projects started by his predecessor.
He was sworn in after a marathon session of hectic negotiations anchored by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and BJP national president Amit Shah, who over a series of meetings, spanning more than 24 hours, with legislators from regional parties and independent MLAs forged a coalition together.

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2008 Mumbai attacks one of the ‘most notorious’ terrorist attacks: China

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Mumbai/Beijing: In a rare acknowledgment, China described the 2008 Mumbai attacks carried out by Pakistan-based LeT terror outfit as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”.
In a white paper on its massive crackdown against terrorists in the restive Xianjiang province, China said the global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years had inflicted agony on humanity.
The paper described the Mumbai terror attacks as one of “the most notorious terrorist attacks”, adding that the “global spread of terrorism and extremism over the years has inflicted agony on humanity”.
The release of the paper, “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang”, interestingly coincided with Pakistan foreign minister’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to China.
Throughout the world, terrorism and extremism gravely threaten peace and development, and endanger the life and property of individuals, said the white paper released by China’s State Council Information Office.
The paper came days after China for the fourth time blocked a bid in the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to designate Pakistan-based chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” by putting a technical hold on the proposal, a move India termed as disappointing.
The JeM has claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama attack that left 40 CRPF personnel dead and escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.
“Striking aggressively at terrorism and furthering the de-radicalisation effort is the common responsibility of the international community and essential to the protection of human rights,” it said.
China opposes all forms of terrorism and extremism, and opposes double standards on fighting terrorism, said the white paper, adding that Beijing opposes linking terrorism and extremism with specific countries, ethnic groups or religions.
China advocates comprehensive measures to address both the symptoms and the root causes, with the dual purposes of striking at terrorist activities and eliminating poverty, so that there will be no room for terrorism to breed, it said.

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Pak did not do a favour by returning Abhinandan, says Sitharaman

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Mumbai: Pakistan has shown the statements of such people and opposition leaders on their television channels, increasing TRP, the minister said.

“It is these people who did not want (the country) to buy Rafale, because arrival of these will give strength to our forces,” she said, addressing a gathering in Kolkata on ‘Ensuring India’s National Security’ organised by the Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

India has given a message to the world after the Balakot air strike by not bowing to Pakistan’s nuclear blackmail, the minister said.

 

On February 26, the IAF conduct air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot targeting Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps. The strikes came after a suicide bomber from the terror group on February 14 rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus, killing 40 personnel, in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Modi did what former prime minister Manmohan Singh did not do after the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008, possibly because of Pakistan’s continued propaganda that “it is a nuclear power like India, and we should not forget that before doing anything against them”, she said.

“‘Chowkidar’ gave Pakistan the right answer,” she said.

The defence minister said though there is no direct war being waged between India and Pakistan, there were ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country, and non-state actors with the support of Pakistan, indulge in attacks like that in Pulwama.

Many were given training for suicide attacks at Balakot. There was intelligence on this development and that there will be many more Pulwama-like attacks in the coming days, she said.

“So, not to wage war but to neutralise the terrorists at their training camps. They were eliminated (at Balakot),” she said, adding, India did what Pakistan ought to have done.

Sitharaman said Pakistan claims it is a victim of terrorism, but itself trains and sends them to India.

“Why Pakistan does not take action against terrors groups and terrorists being nurtured and trained on its soil if it is a victim?” she asked.

The minister said that after the Pulwama attack, evidence was given to Pakistan, but it did not act.

Noting that the Jaish-e-Mohammed itself claimed responsibility for the strike, she said, “What more proof does it (Pakistan) want?”

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