New Delhi/Mumbai: Courting a massive controversy, senior Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam on Tuesday called on the Centre to give proof of the surgical strike that took place in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), asserting that by not doing so India was being insulted by Pakistan in the international arena.
An uproar broke out following his tweet which said, "Every Indian wants #SurgicalStrikesAgainstPak but not a fake one to extract just political benefit by #BJP. Politics over national interest".
Stating that the Congress supported every step by the Centre against Pakistan, Nirupam maintained that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was using the achievements of the Armed Forces for political benefits, ANI reported.
"Surgical strikes used to happen before, but they were never publicised. Three surgical strikes happened during the UPA regime, the Congress never displayed a banner about it, but the BJP is putting up banners across the nation. I have even heard that Defence Minister is going to be felicitated in Goa," he said.
Emphasising that reports were emerging from the world questioning the authenticity of the surgical strike and that Pakistan was responsible for these developments, Nirupam called on the Centre to respond to the challenge by the hostile neighbour or the nation will face humiliation.
"I think all claims made by the government on surgical strikes are fake and will be fake until the Centre gives proof that such an operation existed. I am proud of the army and their power, but the Centre is trying to take political advantage and make political gains out of the sacrifice of our soldiers," he said.
When asked if he was questioning the Army's word on the covert operation as the DGMO had made a public announcement regarding the strike, the Congress leader mentioned that such strikes had happened before as well but the DGMO never made a statement on a large scale before.
"After the Uri attack the Centre was under pressure as the entire nation wanted to see action. The world is raising questions now thanks to Pakistan and our government is so weak that it is not responding. Some sort of evidence needs to be provided by the Centre. We cannot bend to their (Pakistan's) propaganda when we have begun the mission to isolate them," Nirupam said.
Earlier in the day the ruling BJP attacked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram for seeking proof of the surgical strikes by the Indian Army across the Indo-Pak border.
Addressing the media here, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that in such matters, the entire country and leaders across party lines are expected to speak in one voice, but Kejriwal's comments were "unfortunate and painful".
"Kejriwal ji has demanded that to negate the propaganda by the Pakistani media that no surgical strike took place, the government of India should give proof of it. I want to ask him whether he believes in the capabilities of the Indian Army or not," the minister said.
"If he believes in the army's capability, then how could he be affected by the false propaganda of Pakistani media and ask for the proof," Prasad asked.
Prasad also urged the Aam Aadmi Party leader to "keep politics aside, and don't do anything by which our armed forces could feel ashamed".
The minister also attacked Chidambaram and demanded to know if the former Finance Minister's comments were the official statement of the Congress party.
Chidambaram on Monday said it was up to the government to give proof of the surgical strikes conducted on September 28 night in which the army destroyed seven terror launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, according to IANS.
"We would like to ask Sonia Gandhi ji if that is the official position of the Congress party on this issue. If that is the case, then we would examine it and have some questions to ask from them," Prasad said.
"If it is not the official line, then our request to Sonia ji is to rein in the leaders of her party who always want to remain in the limelight," he added.
Prasad said that India has successfully isolated Pakistan "diplomatically, strategically and internationally".
"Today Pakistan stands completely isolated... This is a victory of our diplomacy. Lekin Kejriwal ji ye sab nahi dekhte hain aur sawal uthate hain (But Kejriwal does not see all this and raises questions)," Prasad said.
He said that leaders should refrain from making comments which could "demoralise" the Indian armed forces.