Follow ‘raj dharma’, speak truth on LAC: Cong to PMUpdated: Jul 19, 2020 19:55 IST
New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to follow “raj dharma” and tell people the reality about China’s incursions as it cited satellite images of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso area taken in May and June and added that they showed Chinese structures had come up there.
Addressing a digital news briefing, Congress leader Kapil Sibal asked Modi to “at least speak the truth” about it and take steps to protect the Indian territory. He was referring to Modi’s remarks at an all-party meeting on May 19 that no intruder was on Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and that no Indian military post had been captured.
The Prime Minister’s Office on June 20 clarified Modi’s remarks and added they were being given a “mischievous interpretation”. It said Modi was clear that India would respond firmly to any attempts to transgress LAC.
Sibal said councillors from Ladakh, including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), submitted a memorandum to Modi in February, giving details about China’s capture of Indian land. “What action did the Prime Minister take? Had the Prime Minister acted, wouldn’t we have been able to pre-empt the brazen Chinese transgressions?”
Modi on Friday made a surprise unscheduled visit to Ladakh, where he said the “era of expansionism” was over, to send a signal to China about India’s determination to defend its borders.
Sibal asked Modi to stop the politics of “illusion and delusion” and added India should unequivocally tell China to retreat. He posed five questions to Modi. Sibal asked whether the actual picture of “Chinese occupation of our territory” up to the Finger 4 Ridge in the Pangong Tso area depicts the truth. “They say pictures do not lie. Will the Prime Minister now tell the nation: is this Indian territory on which radars, helipad and other structures have been built by the Chinese in a brazen act of transgression?” asked Sibal. “Have the Chinese occupied our territory in the Galwan Valley, including Patrol Point 14, where our 20 jawans of the 16 Bihar Regiment made the supreme sacrifice [on June 15]? Has China also occupied Indian territory in Hot Springs?”
Sibal asked whether China has occupied territory up to Y-Junction in the Depsang plains, threatening India’s strategic Daulat Beg Oldi airstrip, the lifeline for the military supplies to the Siachen Glacier and Karakoram pass. He referred to Modi’s comments about expansionism and that this is not India of 1962 when the two countries fought a war.
Sibal added that then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote to China, saying India will never submit to the demand for it to accept the Chinese 1959 line, whatever the consequences and however long and hard the struggle may be. “Paradoxically, the 1959 line clearly depicted the entire Galwan Valley in India and it was only on June 16, a day after the fatal clashes, that China formally laid claim, for the first time ever, to the entire Valley.”
Sibal said late former PMs Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri also visited forward locations to boost the morale of Indian soldiers. “But it appears that our Prime Minister stayed 230km away in Nimu, Leh.”
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said patriotic Ladakhis were raising their voice against Chinese intrusion and asked the government to listen to them. “They are screaming a warning. Ignoring their warning will cost India dearly. For India’s sake, please listen to them,” he tweeted. Gandhi shared a media report showing some Ladakhis alleging that the Chinese have been occupying the Indian territory.
Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi brushed aside the Congress’s criticism, saying it is indulging in an irresponsible behaviour when the country is facing challenges. “Even people within the Congress would be surprised at this behaviour.”