Union Minister for Communication and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday termed the banning of 59 Chinese apps by the government earlier this week a “digital strike.” He said India wanted peace but was capable of giving a befitting reply to anyone casting an evil eye on it. He was addressing a virtual rally attended by members and leaders of the West Bengal BJP unit in the ongoing “Jan Samvad” series of virtual rallies by the party.
Hailing the “strong” leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Prasad asserted that “if India lost 20 soldiers in the Galwan Valley border clash, the toll is double on the Chinese side” and that was probably the reason the Chinese government had not made any public declaration of casualty figures.
“When people from China tried to create pressure on LAC [Line of Actual Control], our soldiers gave them a befitting reply ... if our 20 jawans have sacrificed their lives, the toll is double on the Chinese side. You all must have noticed that they have not come out with any figure,” Mr. Prasad said. He added that “nowadays we only hear of two ‘Cs’, coronavirus and China.”
“When our Prime Minister is saying that the sacrifice of our jawans won’t go in vain, it has a meaning in terms of national security. Our government has the will to deliver. All of us are aware of the courage of our Prime Minister,” he added. “It’s not the India of 1962,” he said. Insisting that India carried out a “digital strike” to protect the data of countrymen, Mr. Prasad sought to know why the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) was opposing the ban on Chinese apps.
“For us, the privacy and protection of data of our countrymen are supreme. As IT Minister, we decided to ban 59 apps to protect data. We won’t compromise on the issue of data security and national integration. India knows how to protect its borders and also knows how to carry out a digital strike,” he asserted. “We are witnessing a strange trend in Bengal. The ruling TMC had earlier asked why we were not banning the apps. Now they want to know why we are banning the apps. This is strange, why can’t they stand with the government at the time of crisis,” he said. Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan had on Wednesday criticised the banning of TikTok as an “eyewash” and a superficial decision.
Mr. Prasad also attacked the CPI(M) over its “silence” on the Sino-India border confrontation. “I am surprised why the CPI(M) has not criticised China. We saw an article in CPI(M) mouthpiece where it said India had angered China by removing Article 370 from Kashmir. Is it the same CPI(M) that it was in 1962? Is it still speaking the same language of 1962 in 2020?” he said.
Indicating that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act would be a major electoral plank in the West Bengal Assembly polls due next year, Mr. Prasad wondered why the anti-CAA protesters had gone silent on the issue of China.
“This law was brought in to help the refugees, what is the harm in it? In Bengal, we used to witness a lot of protests in some universities, our Union Ministers and the State Governor were not allowed to enter. I wonder where are those anti-CAA protesters, why have they gone silent on China issue? We need to raise this question in public,” he said.
Mr. Prasad also attacked the Mamata Banerjee government over what he termed its reluctance to facilitate the return of its people during the COVID-19 lockdown. “Uttar Pradesh brought back its 25 lakh migrant workers, Bihar brought back 20 lakh workers. I want to ask how many Shramik Special trains were allowed in Bengal. She [Mamata] had said that these special migrant trains were bringing more COVID-19 positive people into the State. Such statements are unacceptable,” he said.