‘Ministries ignored house panel advice on Pathankot’

‘Ministries ignored house panel advice on Pathankot’

By ABHINANDAN MISHRA | NEW DELHI | 25 September, 2016
Rajya Sabha, Pradip Bhattacharya, MHA, Lok Sabha, Pathankot, Punjab Police
Pradip Bhattacharya
Bhattacharya complained that no action was taken against Salwinder Singh.

Parliamentarian Pradip Bhattacharya, who headed the 30-member Parliament Standing Committee on Home, which had gone to Pathankot in the wake of the terror strike in January, has said that specific recommendations made by his committee in order to stop more such attacks, especially in the Kashmir valley, were ignored by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence.

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Rajya Sabha member Bhattacharya said that the committee, which included 10 Rajya Sabha members and 20 Lok Sabha members belonging to all parties, had made “strong” and specific recommendations to prevent further such attacks after visiting Pathankot.

“More than eight months (after the Pathankot attack) have passed and nothing has been done. The attack on the Indian Army brigade headquarters at Uri would not have taken place had these recommendations been followed. We had stated that an extensive combing operation should be done in Kashmir by the police and the paramilitary forces to search for arms and terrorists after sealing the border by using the Army. The recommendations were not made by just one MP, but 30 MPs and it is the MHA which should have followed it up,” Bhattacharya said.

According to him, the committee had also realised that the highway from Jammu to Kashmir was very vulnerable from the security viewpoint of the armed forces, after which the committee had recommended that movement on that highway should take place only in bullet proof cars.

“However, nothing has been done, the government has only talked. The only one thing that they followed was to surround the airport temporarily by the Army, but none of the rest of the recommendations was followed, as far as I know,” Bhattacharya said.

He criticised the government for not taking action against Salwinder Singh, the Punjab Police SP who was first “kidnapped” by the terrorists and then set free. “The SP made a blunder, ditched the nation and yet he was totally protected by the officials, including the Chief Secretary, for reasons unknown. During our meeting, our MPs ‘charged’ the DGP and the CS on this (not taking action against Singh), but they said that the inquiry was going on and nothing could be done. However, till now, no action has been taken against this culprit despite primary evidence suggesting that he was involved,” he said.

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