Modi owes apology to soldiers: Chidambaram

Ahmedabad, April 15 (Inditop) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi owes an apology to the armymen for his remarks that terrorists holed up in the Charar-e-Sharif shrine in Kashmir were fed by soldiers before they were allowed to escape, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here Wednesday.

“I read from news reports that Narendra Modi stated in a public meeting in Gujarat yesterday that the terrorists holed up in Charar-e-Sharif were fed chicken biryani before being allowed to escape. Nobody should be allowed to escape with such blatant lies,” he told reporters.

Chidambaram said that Charar-e-Sharif, a wooden shrine in the town of Charar-e-Sharif in Budgam district, had remained cordoned off for about two months by the Indian army after terrorist Mast Gul and his associates were holed up in the village in 1995.

“In the stand-off between the Indian Army and the terrorists, the wooden shrine caught fire and the terrorists tried to escape, leading to a gun battle in which seven Indian Army jawans lost their lives. The terrorists managed to escape from the village.”

Chidambaram said that it was unfortunate that the country lost seven jawans while terrorists also escaped, and the Gujarat chief minister owes an apology to the Indian Army jawans for caustic remarks about them.

Chidambaram said Modi has been making statements in his public meetings in Gujarat as if Lok Sabha polls concerned only the people of the state. “Please do not forget these are national polls and we should be concerned about national issues such as communal harmony, development and security,” he said.

“‘Gudiya and budhiya’ are not issues,” he added, referring to Modi’s comments last week comparing the Congress party with an old woman and then with a doll.

Chidambaram said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat says the centrally sponsored National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) is a flop.

“Does the BJP want to convey that they want to discontinue an ambitious rural employment guarantee scheme if they come to power at the centre? This would be an acceptance of the fact that the BJP could not successfully run the scheme in Gujarat,” said the Congress leader.

He said the BJP’s Lok Sabha poll manifesto does not have a single line about industrial development.

“Please tell me can India grow without industrial growth? Who needs growth? Tell me which country is happy with a mere two to three percent growth? The UPA (Congress-led United Progressive Alliance) regime during the most difficult period of global meltdown has maintained a growth of seven percent during 2008-09.

“Throughout its rule the Congress-led UPA government from 2004 to 2007 maintained a steady growth of eight percent while NDA could manage to maintain growth rate of barely five to eight percent during its five year rule.”

Talking about Pakistan’s response to the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Chidambaram said that the mother of Ajaml Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured, is coming to India to meet him to show he is a Pakistani.