Army Chief not a Parliamentarian to make such statements: Congress

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb. 18 (ANI): With fresh clashes breaking out in Srinagar and Pakistan flags being hoisted despite the warning by Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, the Congress on Saturday maintained their critical stance on the Army Chief saying there was absolutely no need for him to make such a statement which would obviously result in tension in the Valley. Asserting that the Opposition has always unitedly supported all initiatives for Jammu and Kashmir, Congress leader Tom Vadakkan told ANI here that there was no need for the Army Chief to make such a statement and create a situation. "Now we have reports of hand grenade attacks and stone pelting coming from the Valley. What was the need to have said that? In a civil society, the Army is there for the defence of the country not to make statements. He (Army Chief) is not a parliamentarian. We accept that the army has been vigilant and is effective, but there was no need for this," he added. A protest that broke out near the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar saw protestors pelting stones and raising Pakistan flags shortly after Friday prayers. The incident was in response to Thursday's warning by the Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat that Kashmiris supporting terrorists would be considered anti-national and acted against. "People who have picked up arms, the local boys, if they want to continue with such acts of terrorism and display flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them. Our relentless operations will continue," General Rawat said while paying tribute to the bravehearts of the Handwara and Bandipora encounters. Urging the local people to extend their support to the security forces trying to maintain peace in the Valley, General Rawat said, "They would not be spared if they continue resorting to negative acts and such actions are the reason for the high number of casualties among security forces". Meanwhile, the Centre has reiterated its appeal to the Congress to not drag the Indian Army into politics. "It's my appeal to the Congress to keep the Army and the Army Chief outside of politics. Our soldiers are dying and terrorists are infiltrating from Pakistan and it is unbecoming that such things are being said. The sooner the Congress realizes it is not in power anymore, the better for the nation," Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad told ANI in response to the Congress' charges that General Rawat's statement could induce more hostility in the Valley. (ANI)