The Congress on April 18 demanded a White Paper on the Pulwama terror attack in the light of allegations made by former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik that Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans became easy targets as they were denied travel by aircraft and had to go by road from Jammu to Srinagar.
Addressing a joint press conference, All India Congress Committee’s Delhi in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil along with Col (retd.) Rohit Chaudhry and Wing Commander (retd.) Anuma Acharya — both are associated with the party — posed a series of questions to the Narendra Modi Government on the terror attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans in February 2019.
They said the White Paper should provide answers to questions on “intelligence failures” and why troops were not airlifted.
Mr. Gohil said the party did not make any political statement in 2019 but is now raising the issue since the former Army chief General (retd.) Shankar Roychowdhury has also expressed concerns.
Col. Chaudhry and Wing Cdr. Acharya stated that the defence fraternity and the entire nation shared the concerns of Gen. Roychowdhury and Mr. Malik: Why were 2,500 CRPF soldiers not allowed to travel by air despite their request and why were intelligence inputs between January 2, 2019 and February 13, 2019 that warned of a terrorist attack ignored.
Col. Chaudhry asked, “How did the militants procure around 300 kg of explosives? How could this huge quantity remain undetected despite heavy security presence in south Kashmir, especially the Pulwama-Anantnag-Avantipora belt?”
“Four years after the attack, how far has the inquiry progressed? Why is there a delay in completing the inquiry and letting the nation know its findings?” he added.
Wing Cdr. Acharya said, “The tri-service courier of the Air Force is always ready. So, why were troops denied aircraft? These questions come to our mind and they must be answered in a comprehensive report”. The two army veterans said that in previous terror attacks, such as the Mumbai bomb explosions in 2011 and the Pathankot attack in 2016, inquiries were held and findings made public. This was essential to establish the truth, fix responsibility, and strengthen India’s national security, they stressed.
“Therefore, we demand that the government of India publish a White Paper on the Pulwama attacks, describing how the attacks took place, what were the ‘intelligence failures’, why troops were denied aircraft, what security lapses occurred and the role of CRPF, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, National Security Adviser and the Prime Minister’s Office,” the veterans stated.