Statements by the Congress and the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit are at variance with each other of late, betraying a disconnect.
When the Uri ambush happened on Sunday, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) condemned it, with party president Sonia Gandhi expressing “shock and deep distress over the martyrdom of Indian soldiers in the dastardly terrorist attack”.
The statement released by the AICC media department said Gandhi hoped the perpetrators of the act will be severely dealt with and brought to book.
Minutes later, the Jammu and Kashmir Congress, too, came out with a statement – but not on Uri. The state unit condemned the killing of a teenager and the pellet attack on a mentally-challenged person in Srinagar.
Demanding an immediate probe into the killing of the pellet-struck teenager, the J-K Congress also blamed the forces for “seriously injuring a mentally-retarded person” and termed it as “an attack on humanity”.
Terming the “innocent killings and injuries to thousands as the cause behind the extremely volatile situation” in the Valley, a party spokesperson asked the government to “come clean on such gruesome incidents” and demanded that security personnel involved be brought “punished as per the law of the land”.
Stating that the Peoples Democratic Party-led government “is still not waking up to the incidents of killings and injuries to innocent people”, the spokesperson lashed out at it “for closing its eyes and behaving as silent spectators” to the “unabated killings and shameful” incidents.
Prior to this, on July 28, the state unit quoted Gandhi having expressed “anguish” over the loss of lives in clashes between protesters and security forces in Kashmir, and urged people to “shun the path of confrontation and embrace peace”.
“While expressing anguish over the loss of lives and grievous injuries caused to people, Gandhi appealed the people to shun the path of confrontation and maintain calm,” a spokesperson quoted the Congress president as saying. Gandhi’s statement released by the AICC was modified by the state unit.
The AICC statement read: “Congress president Sonia Gandhi has expressed deep anguish at the loss of innocent lives in the senseless violence in parts of J-K in past few days. There can be no compromise on matters relating to national security.
“Terrorism must be dealt with firmly. Even so, the death of so many of our citizens and attack on security forces is very painful. The political process has made many gains in J-K particularly over the last two decades and these must not get lost. I appeal to my brothers and sisters in the Valley to allow political parties to find durable and enduring ways of fulfilling their aspirations meaningfully in a peaceful and democratic manner.”
Perhaps local political compulsions are driving the J-K Congress to change or issue differing statements from those released by the AICC.