Shiv Sena today demanded that sedition charges be slapped on Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam for questioning the integrity of the Army and sought his immediate removal from the party’s Mumbai chief post. Nirupam had yesterday raised questions on the veracity of the surgical strikes by the Army on terror launch pads across the LoC, suggesting it was “fake”. He also went on to demand “some evidence” to prove that the strikes did take place and accused the ruling BJP at the Centre of indulging in politics over the issue.
“Every Indian wants surgical strikes against Pakistan but not a fake one to extract just political benefit by BJP. politics over national interest(sic),” Nirupam had tweeted, kicking up a row over the emotive issue. “Nirupam needs to be lessoned on keeping blind faith on our Army. It is surprising that he can dare to question the veracity of the Army operations at a time when even Congress president and vice-president have made their stand very clear on this issue,” Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said.
She claimed that before the army action, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken all Opposition parties into confidence and briefed them about the exact situation at the Line of Control (LoC). “We demand that a sedition case be slapped against Nirupam as he is toeing the line of an enemy nation which says surgical strikes never took place. He has disgraced the nation in front of world leaders,” Kayande said.
“Also, we demand that he should be immediately ousted from his post because a person who cannot respect the Army can never respect people and serve them,” the Sena leader said. Meanwhile, revealing a vertical within the party, Congress leader Arif Naseem Khan said Nirupam should not have used this sensitive issue for “political gains”.
“All parties are one as long as the country’s unity and security is concerned. Also, the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) and vice-president (Rahul Gandhi) have made their stand very clear on this issue. There is no reason for other party leaders like Nirupam ji to take a different stand over the issue,” he said.
“It is not right to use this sensitive issue for political gains,” Khan said. The Congress had yesterday dissociated itself from Nirupam’s remarks on the surgical strikes, saying it has full faith in the armed forces even as it asked the government to use “all information and evidence” at its disposal to call “Pakistan’s bluff” and expose its false propaganda.