Have proof of strike, but will not re­lease it: Govt Maha govt starts build­ing its case for Maratha quota SIGNS OF RIFT: MARATHA GROUPS SPAR

LoC AC­TION PM tells min­is­ters not to in­dulge in ch­est-thump­ing over the raid

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dents ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The army has handed over video ev­i­dence of its Septem­ber 29 sur­gi­cal strikes on ter­ror­ist launch­pads in Pak­istanoc­cu­pied Kash­mir but the govern­ment doesn’t see the need to make them public, two se­nior min­is­ters said on Wed­nes­day.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi has asked his min­is­ters not to in­dulge in ch­est-thump­ing over the raid, sources said, adding the army, too, is not in favour of mak­ing public the de­tails of the sen­si­tive op­er­a­tion.

Ur­ban devel­op­ment min­is­ter Venka­iah Naidu re­jected the op­po­si­tion’s de­mand for proof of the strikes, say­ing any fur­ther dis­cus­sions would be an “in­sult” to the army. “There is no need to re­spond to such ir­re­spon­si­ble com­ments and de­mands. For­tu­nately, the Congress has also re­alised its mis­take and dis­tanced it­self from the com­ments of its lead­ers,” Naidu told me­di­a­per­sons a day af­ter he said that the proof would be pre­sented at an ap­pro­pri­ate time.

De­fence min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar has also con­curred with the army. Par­rikar and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sor Ajit Do­val were shown unedited footage of the Sol­diers pa­trol the LoC in Pal­lan­wal sec­tor. Af­ter a brief lull, Pak­istan Army re­sumed shelling along a ma­jor por­tion of the LoC.

Septem­ber 29 op­er­a­tion on Oc­to­ber 1, fol­lowed by a pre­sen­ta­tion of an edited ver­sion the next day by the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Mil­i­tary Op­er­a­tions (DGMO). Af­ter see­ing the vi­su­als, Par­rikar con­veyed to the Prime Min­is­ter that he was sat­is­fied and felt there was no need to re­lease the footage.

Hin­dus­tan Times had re­ported on Oc­to­ber 3 that Modi had on Septem­ber 23 — five days af­ter an army camp in Uri was at­tacked by mil­i­tants that In­dia says were based out of Pak­istan — first told Par­rikar and Do­val of his de­ci­sion to strike across the LoC.

“The op­po­si­tion should un­der­stand

the dif­fer­ence be­tween a covert and overt strike. And it is not in­cum­bent on the In­dian army to re­lease video footage ev­ery time they do their duty,” a se­nior of­fi­cial said on con­di­tions of anonymity. South Block sources said there was no need to rub Pak­istan’s nose in the dirt af­ter the suc­cess­ful sur­gi­cal strike.

Delhi chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal and a sec­tion of Congress lead­ers have been call­ing for ev­i­dence, couch­ing it as a must to de­bunk “Pak­istan pro­pa­ganda” that the raid was noth­ing but cross-bor­der fight­ing.

Pak­istan PM Nawaz Sharif hit back at In­dian coun­ter­part Naren­dra Modi’s speech on poverty, say­ing it can­not be erad­i­cated by “driv­ing tanks on farm­lands”. Ad­dress­ing a joint ses­sion of Par­lia­ment, Sharif ac­cused In­dia of run­ning away from di­a­logue. “Pak­istan is against war and wants durable peace. We are ready to set­tle all is­sues, in­clud­ing Kash­mir, through se­ri­ous re­sul­to­ri­ented talks,” he said. He men­tioned Wani again. “The death of Wani, son of the Kash­miri soil, had re­minded In­dia to give Kash­miris their right to self­de­ter­mi­na­tion.”

Un­der pres­sure from the silent Maratha marches, the Ma­ha­rash­tra govern­ment on Wed­nes­day moved to build a case for reser­va­tion for the com­mu­nity, hold­ing an all-party meet to dis­cuss strat­egy and hir­ing the best le­gal brains be­fore the next hear­ing in the mat­ter on Oc­to­ber 13 in the Bom­bay high court.

The govern­ment ap­pointed lead­ing lawyer Har­ish Salve to rep­re­sent it in the high court and will send a for­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the Cen­tre to re­lease caste-based data from the 2011 cen­sus re­lated to the Marathas in Ma­ha­rash­tra. Sources told HT that within two days, the govern­ment would also file a charge sheet on the rape and mur­der of the teen at Kopardi, in Ahmed­na­gar dis­trict, that trig­gered the silent Maratha protests.

“The CM will write to the Cen­tre to get spe­cific caste cen­sus data on the Maratha com­mu­nity. This data will be sent for anal­y­sis to the Gokhale In­sti­tute of Pol­i­tics and Economics in Pune. We be­lieve it will help us show that the com­mu­nity is eco­nom­i­cally back­ward with a ma­jor­ity of them small and mar­ginal farm­ers be­sides math­adis (head­load work­ers). We have pulled out data from archives to show their so­cial back­ward­ness,” said Vinod Tawde, state ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter and a Maratha leader, who is head­ing a min­is­te­rial panel to strengthen the state’s case on reser­va­tion.

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