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RSS praises PM Modi and Air Force, stays away from making ‘jingoistic’ remarks

RSS has congratulated IAF and the Union government for Tuesday’s predawn air strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan, saying the operation were carried out in “tune with Indian culture”.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2019 22:37 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IAF,India news,Pakistan
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally in Churu, Rajasthan, Tuesday, Feb 26, 2019.(PTI photo)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has congratulated the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Union government for Tuesday’s predawn air strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan, saying the operation were carried out in “tune with Indian culture”, without “causing damage to the Pakistani army and the citizens”.

The RSS, which has always advocated a muscular policy towards Pakistan and terror outfits operating in Kashmir, on Tuesday chose a nuanced statement to endorse the action.

“The entire nation was agitated and angry in the wake of terror attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Pulwama. Today, the Indian Air Force demolished Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Pakistan based ‘base camps’ by precision air strikes. We congratulate the government of India and the Indian Air Force for exactly translating the feelings and anger of millions of Indians,RSS general secretary Suresh Bahiyyaji Joshi said in a statement.

The RSS’s women’s wing, the Rashtriya Sevika Samiti, praised both Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “his determined political will” to give the forces a “free hand” and IAF for “not only paying homage to the martyrs of Pulwama, but also assuring the hundreds of angry citizens that there will be a befitting reply to the bloody games initiated by the enemy”.

Also read | Mirage 2000, Sukhoi-30s, AWACS part of IAF’s operation on JeM camp in Balakot

According to a senior functionary, who asked not to be named, the RSS has taken a position to refrain from making “jingoistic statements” or “political statements” on the air strikes that were carried out in the early hours of Tuesday at Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. But it has conveyed its appreciation to the government and the security forces for “doing what they should have done”.

“There is a calibrated move to watch the situation, since there is possibility of escalation from the other side [Pakistan],” said the functionary.

After the February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy killed 40 troopers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat called it a “cowardly act” and said, “…we expect action in response to this incident.”

Though the RSS leadership did not ratchet up pressure on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre through provocative or confrontational speeches, it said acts of terror against the state cannot go unpunished. Cadres of the RSS, however, were urging the government to take military action against Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism against India.

In January, Bhagwat had rued that soldiers were dying along the country’s borders even when India was not at war with any country. Without referring to cross-border conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, he said if soldiers were being killed on the borders without any war, it meant that “we are not doing our job properly”, adding, “…Otherwise, if there is no war, then there is no reason why a soldier should die on the border. But it is happening.”

The RSS has been pushing the government to abrogate Article 370, which offers autonomy to the state legislature, and scrap Article 35 (A), which empowers the legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them.

Also read | Prepare for all eventualities, Pak PM Imran Khan to citizens after IAF strikes Jaish camp across LoC

First Published: Feb 26, 2019 22:37 IST