Cong demands immediate restoration of air transit services for armed forces personnel

NEW DELHI, Apr 8: The Congress on Friday demanded immediate restoration of air transit services for armed forces personnel and sought an apology from the Government for “risking” the lives of soldiers.
In a statement, Congress general secretary and chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that the country lost 44 of its brave soldiers of the CRPF in the Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir on February 14, 2019 due to the suspension of the same air courier service.
He said this attack happened because the CRPF personnel were going by buses to join duty through this very sensitive area.
Even then, the Narendra Modi Government did not provide air transit facility to them to reach their duty point, he alleged.
“We demand that this air transit service should be immediately restored in view of the security 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 does not leave any opportunity to take credit for the bravery of soldiers, it does nothing in the name of their security and for saving their lives.
After the attack in Pulwama, on the demand of the Congress and various news items appearing, the Modi Government had hurriedly restored the ‘air courier service’ for the jawans, which has now been suspended again from April 1, he alleged.
The Congress spokesperson said that the suspension of air transit service means that the 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 about three hundred kilometers area in Jammu and Kashmir is full of risk. There is always a threat of IEDs, hand grenades, drones and suicidal attacks in these areas.
“With the suspension of air transit service for paramilitary forces, now the paramilitary forces personnel will have to move in the same type of convoys, which can be easily targeted by the terrorists. This will also increase the cost as a large number of road opening parties will have to be deployed in view of the security of the soldiers,” he said.
He reminded the government that the air courier service for such jawans was 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 operationalised for only seven months, which led to the February 2019 Pulwama attack.
“This attack was shamelessly exploited by the BJP in the 2019 general elections,” he alleged, adding that it is now being repeated once again.
The ‘air courier service’ for the paramilitary forces has been suspended by the Union Home Ministry at a time when snow has started melting on the high peaks of the Valley, he said, adding that during this period threat perception of terrorist attacks has been at its peak and there have also been several incidents of attacks in last few days. (PTI)
“When our soldiers protect the country, then 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 point as well,” he said. (PTI)