Congress Demands Immediate Restoration of Air Transit Services for Armed Forces Personnel – The New Indian Express
NEW DELHI: Congress on Friday demanded the immediate restoration of air transit services for armed forces personnel and demanded an apology from the government for “risking” the lives of soldiers.
In a statement, Congress Secretary General and Chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the country lost 44 of its brave CRPF soldiers in the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir on February 14, 2019 due to suspension of the same airmail service.
He said that this attack happened because CRPF personnel were traveling by bus to reach this very sensitive area.
Even then, the Narendra Modi government did not provide them with air transit means to reach their point of service, he alleged.
“We demand that this air transit service be immediately restored with a view to the safety of the soldiers, the government should apologize to the nation for risking the lives of our soldiers and paramilitary forces,” he said.
Surjewala also alleged that while the BJP leaves no room to take credit for the bravery of the soldiers, it does nothing in the name of their safety and to save their lives.
After the Pulwama attack, at the behest of Congress and the appearance of various news articles, the Modi government had hastily restored the “air courier service” for jawans, which has been suspended again since 1 April, he alleged.
The Congress spokesman said the suspension of air transit service means jawans posted in Jammu and Kashmir will now have to travel by rail or road.
“This is the height of negligence, when the government is well aware that an area of about three hundred kilometers in Jammu and Kashmir is full of risks.
There is always a threat of IEDs, hand grenades, drones and suicide attacks in these areas.
“With the suspension of air transit service for paramilitary forces, paramilitary force personnel will now have to travel in the same type of convoys, which can be easily targeted by terrorists. This will also increase the cost as a large number of Openings of party roads will have to be deployed with a view to the safety of the soldiers,” he said.
He reminded the government that the airmail service for these jawans had been suspended a few months before the Pulwama attack.
The Delhi-Srinagar air service was started on January 1, 2018 for the movement of paramilitary forces deployed in Kashmir, but, due to financial reasons, but it was stopped on July 31, 2018, after being operational for only seven months, this which led to the Pulwama attack in February 2019.
“This attack was shamelessly exploited by the BJP in the 2019 general election,” he alleged, adding that it is now being repeated once again.
The “air courier service” for paramilitary forces was suspended by the Union Home Ministry at a time when snow began to melt on the high peaks of the valley, he said, adding that during this period, the perception of the threat of terrorist attacks has been at its peak and there have also been several incidents of attacks in recent days.
“When our soldiers are protecting the country, it is also the duty of the government to provide them with the necessary basic facilities. But the Modi government seems to be failing on this too,” he said.