BJP, Cong spar over 'terror' boat

BJP, Cong spar over 'terror' boat

The Congress and the BJP were engaged in a war of words over a suspicious Pakistani boat that sank off the Gujarat coast on Wednesday night.

The Congress leaders’ questions over the authenticity of Coast Guard claims sparked off a political war with the BJP accusing the opposition party of advocating the cause of terrorists.

The Modi government was silent on the issue. It is learnt that the Indian Coast Guard has handed over the unedited footage from its ship “Rajratan” to the Defence Ministry. The Centre had said on Friday that a “suspected fishing boat” from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some “illicit transaction in the Arabian Sea”.

The Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat but the crew set the boat on fire which resulted in a major explosion.

The interception took place a week ahead of the high-profile Pravasi Bharatiya Divas event scheduled to be held in Gujarat which would be attended by top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Congress wanted the Modi government to “come clean” on the issue and explain the claim that a terror attack was prevented. “How can you say a terrorist attack was prevented? How did they (government) come to the conclusion that it was a terrorist boat? It is very strange. Nothing has been explained. Which terrorist organisation was behind it,” AICC spokesperson Ajoy Kumar asked.

The BJP hit back at the Congress accusing it of “speaking the language of terrorists”.
“The Congress has a history of advocating the cause of terrorists, be it those creating terror within the country or emanating from Pakistan. The Congress is soft on terror due to its vote-bank politics,” BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

Interestingly, senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh said the Pakistani boat was likely to be carrying contraband as smugglers were finding it difficult to use the land route.

“Since the international drug cartels take care of their people, they prefer to lay down their life than to be caught lest they spill the beans and that in all probability appears to be the reason why they set the boat on fire,” the former chief minister of Punjab said.

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