'Killing of soldiers in terror attacks an insult'
New Delhi: Senior Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday slammed the government over incidents of killing of security personnel in terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and called for giving them a "free hand" to retaliate to cross-border terrorism in the state.
Raising the issue in Lok Sabha during the Zero Hour, Yadav, a former Defence Minister, said repeated targeting of the armed forces by terrorists has affected their image globally and wondered whether the government was in a "dilemma" to deal with the problem of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Our soldiers are the best in the world. But now Pakistan is killing them. It is an insult to our armed forces. It is not a small issue. What is the government's dilemma? I have information that the armed forces have not been given free hand," Yadav said.
Yadav, who was defence minister between June, 1996 and March 1998 in the United Front government, was primarily referring to last week's Pulwama attack.
In a pre-dawn strike, five CRPF men were killed and three others injured when heavily-armed terrorists stormed the CRPF camp at Lethpora in Pulwama district on December 31. The attack was claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
"Our soldiers are being killed almost regularly. The government must tell us why this is happening. The armed forces must be given full freedom to retaliate against Pakistan sponsored terrorism. During my tenure soldiers were given free-hand," said Yadav. However, during the discussion, Mulayam was supported by his party member Dharmendra Yadav who demanded a reply from the government over the killing of soldiers. "The government must answer as why our soldiers are being killed and why the government is not taking action. The government must answer," Yadav said.
The Congress too had targeted the government yesterday over the terror attack on the CRPF camp, alleging that it has failed to protect military installations from cross-border terror strikes.