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Punjab Cabinet minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday strongly condemned the "cowardly" attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama by a Pakistan-based terror group in which at least 40 CRPF soldiers were killed but also raised the question whether an entire nation can be blamed for a handful of people.
At least forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
Talking to reporters in Chandigarh after the Punjab Assembly was adjourned for the day in solidarity with the slain CRPF soldiers, Sidhu said, "It (the attack) is a cowardly act and I condemn it firmly. Violence is always condemnable and those who did it must be punished."
The cricketer-turned-politician, who was among the invitees for the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan as Pakistan prime minister last year, however, posed, "For a handful of people, can you blame the entire nation and can you blame an individual?"
Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi speaking on the Pulwama attack on Friday said his party and the entire opposition is fully supportive of the government and the security forces. No amount of hatred and anger can harm the love India is built on, Gandhi said.
Gandhi was accompanied by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad and A K Antony at the press conference.
"This is a terrible attack, this type of violence is disgusting. Terrorism tries to divide the nation, we can't be divided by any power. The entire opposition is with security forces and the government," Gandhi said.
"Those who have done this should not feel that they can harm the country. It is a time of mourning and sadness," he added.
Singh said the nation can never compromise with terrorism. "Terrorism is a scourge which we can never compromise...," the former prime minister said.
More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in the convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir around 3.15 pm.
The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place about 20 km from Srinagar.