Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu today condemned the terror attack on soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on Thursday, the worst in decades. But the Punjab minister, a Congress leader, landed in a huge controversy as he questioned, without naming Pakistan, “Can an entire nation be blamed for a handful of people?”
At least 40 soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF were killed in a terror attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammed or JeM when their convoy was heading from Jammu to Srinagar. The incident took place approximately 20 km from Srinagar, when a terrorist driving a car detonated more than 60 kilograms of explosives near a bus which was part of the CRPF convoy. The explosion was so massive that window panes of houses and buildings were damaged in a nearly-10-km radius.
More than 2,500 CRPF were returning from leave to rejoin duty in Srinagar. They were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when the terrorist struck at around 3:15 pm.
“It (the terror attack) is a cowardly and dastardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished,” said Navjot Sidhu.
However, Mr Sidhu followed that up by saying, “For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?”
Mr Sidhu’s comment today created a storm on social media, with dozens of people on Twitter demanding a ban on The Kapil Sharma Show, following Navjot Sidhu’s remark. Mr Sidhu is a member and part of comedian Kapil Sharma’s popular television show.
Last year, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invite to Navjot Sidhu for his swearing-in ceremony became controversial. Despite strained ties between India and Pakistan and his senior colleagues advising him not to go, Navjot Sidhu went ahead citing his “personal friendship” with Imran Khan, a former cricketer.
Mr Sidhu faced sharp criticism for sharing a hug with Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The Punjab Assembly today strongly condemned the Pulwama terror attack.
(Inputs from PTI)