Under fire from the Opposition over the terror attack in Srinagar, the government on Thursday hinted the militants were from Pakistan.
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told Parliament that diaries containing Pakistani names and numbers were found on the two men killed in the gunfight.
"Two diaries and betnovate manufactured in Karachi were recovered,” he said, adding the terrorists were suspected to be of foreign origin. Betnovate is an anti-inflammatory ointment.
The statement, however, did little to cool tempers as Shinde repeated parts of it in the Lok Sabha, angering the Opposition further. An official had to walk up to him to apparently alert him about the slip.
Two militants dressed in cricket gear lobbed grenades and opened fire at a CRPF camp in Srinagar's police public school on Wednesday, killing five men.
"Although the responsibility for the incident was owned by an agent of Hizbul Mujahideen, the authenticity of the claim is yet to be ascertained," Shinde said.
"The external affairs minister treats Pakistani prime minister to a sumptuous lunch when he comes to Ajmer Sharif and just four days later, this terror attack happens," leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.
"I salute the diwan of Ajmer Sharif. He did what the government could not do." The diwan stayed away from Raja Pervz Ashraf's visit to protest the killings of two Indian soldiers by Pakistan.
External affairs minister Salman Khurshid hit back outside Parliament, recalling the failed 2001 Agra summit between PM Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf after the Kargil war. "I think that there are tablets which you can get for improving your memory. They should buy enough of those tablets to improve their memory," reminding the BJP of the failure of the coalition government it led.
When some members pointed out that the CRPF men were not provided adequate weapons, Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut accused the government of being soft and added, "we too can send fidayeen (suicide attackers) if required". The BJP distanced itself from the statement.
Shinde told Parliament that terror strikes were expected following Afzal Guru's execution. The Opposition, he said, would have accused him of being soft had Afzal's death sentence was not carried out.