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Anger in parliament over soldiers' killing
Tuesday August 6, 2013 11:05 PM, IANS

Anger over the killing of five Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir gripped parliament Tuesday as members across political divide condemned the incident and sought strong action, while the government said the army was ready to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC).

Both houses of parliament were repeatedly disrupted over the killings of soldiers.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony assured the Lok Sabha the army was ready to protect the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC) and said a strong protest through diplomatic channels had been lodged with Pakistan.

"The ambush was carried out by approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed as in Pakistan Army uniform," Antony said in his statement.

"I assure the house that our army is ready to take all necessary steps to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control," Antony said.

The proceedings were put off till the next day soon after Antony's statement.

Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das said party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi were concerned over the issue.

"India cannot be cowed down by such blatant acts of deceit," said Sonia Gandhi, urging the government to take appropriate measures.

In the Lok Sabha, Bharatiya Janata Party's leader Yashwant Sinha's speech was drowned out by the protesting Seemandhra MPs.

An angry Sinha asked why his speech was being drowned out when Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh who spoke before him was allowed to speak uninterrupted.

"Who are these people who are not allowing me to speak...they are all under the Congress, not allowing me to speak, and when I am speaking they are disrupting me," said Sinha.

BJP leaders M. Venkaiah Naidu and Shahnawaz Hussain wanted India to harden its stand vis-a-vis Pakistan.

"The government has been very soft on Pakistan. They are being violent, and our government is silent," Naidu said. "It is a state policy of Pakistan...to cripple India."

"India should immediately stop all talks with Pakistan. Relations with neighbours cannot be maintained from one side only," he added.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh wanted to know what action the government planned to take to thwart violations of LoC.

Yadav said there were frequent incidents of intrusions by China across the Line of Actual Control and ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC as well as killings of Indian soldiers.

"We want to know what the government is doing to thwart such attacks," he demanded.

The Rajya Sabha also debated the issue.

The BJP asked the government to give Pakistan a "befitting reply".

"These incidents are not taking place in isolation. We had incidents of soldiers being beheaded, we had Sarabjit (Singh, who died in a Pakistan prison)...we have a series of incidents of cross border terrorism," leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

"India needs to modulate its foreign policy to tell Pakistan this will not be accepted. The time has come to give a befitting reply," Jaitley said.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati said: "We need to take firm steps. A lot of soldiers have died, we need to take it seriously and take special steps."

In his reply, Antony said he had spoken to Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh who said the army was confident to handle the situation.

"When the question of nation comes, India is one. That is the strongest answer to our enemy according to me," he said.

The issues of Telangana and Bodoland also saw disruptions in both the houses.

In a post midnight attack in Kashmir, a Non-Commissioned Officer and four soldiers were killed when the attackers, including men in Pakistani military uniform, barged into Indian territory and ambushed an army patrol at Chakan-da-Bagh sector of the LoC, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

The attack took place around 400 metres inside Indian territory. A wounded soldier was airlifted to Jammu for specialised treatment. A source in Jammu told IANS that the Pakistanis withdrew after the killings.

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