‘Who sent unarmed soldiers and why?’: Rahul Gandhi on Ladakh face-off
The clash between the two armies in which both sides suffered casualties on Monday began at around 7 pm in the Galwan Valley on Monday.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, addressing people in a video message, condemned China’s actions in eastern Ladakh that resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers. The Congress leader, pointing out that Indian soldiers were unarmed, sought to know who is responsible for this situation.
“China has committed a crime by killing India’s unarmed soldiers. I want to know who sent these unarmed soldiers in the harm’s way and why. Who is responsible,” said Gandhi in Hindi during an 18-second video clip posted by him on Twitter.
The clash between the two armies in which both sides suffered casualties on Monday began at around 7 pm in the Galwan Valley when an Indian Army squad of about 50 soldiers, led by Colonel Santosh Babu, reached a contested site near what is known as Patrol Point 14, people familiar with the developments said on Wednesday.
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In a matter of minutes, the soldiers were locked in hand-to-hand combat that triggered a seven-hour violent face-off involving reinforcements from both sides.
The soldiers exchanged blows, threw stones at each other, and the Chinese troops attacked Indian soldiers with iron rods and nail-studded clubs, as reported by HT on Wednesday. Some soldiers, from both sides, fell into the water and their bodies were later retrieved on Tuesday morning.
The soldiers were unarmed, as part of a protocol between the two sides. Forward troops patrolling the disputed border either do not carry guns, or, if they do, keep them slung on their backs with the magazines in pouches and not clipped on.
The Chinese soldiers were supposed to have withdrawn from the location under a de-escalation plan discussed by senior commanders from both sides on June 6.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in his first comments said India is capable of giving a befitting reply if provoked, has called an all-party meeting on Friday to discuss the situation at the India-China border. Presidents of various political parties will participate in the meeting at 5 pm on Friday via video, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
On Wednesday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked PM Modi to come clean about the situation in eastern Ladakh and tel the nation how the “Chinese occupied Indian territory, why 20 brave soldiers were martyred”.
Since May, there have been tensions between the Indian and Chinese sides following clashes between the troops of the two countries in the Sikkim and Ladakh sectors of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).