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Don't Use Surgical Strikes For Votes, Say Martyr Families

New Delhi: The BJP’s attempt to make surgical strike an issue in the upcoming assembly elections is being rejected by family members of martyrs including Hemraj Singh.

Hemraj was beheaded by Pakistani terrorists in January 2013.

In an exclusive conversation with CNN News18 in Hemraj’s native village Shernagar in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura district, Hemraj’s mother said, “Where is the proof that surgical strike happened? Government claimed that the terrorist who beheaded Hemraj has been killed but we only have the government’s version. This is no revenge for Hemraj.”

In 2013, then Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj had said revenge would be complete if 10 Pakistani heads are brought back for each Indian soldier beheaded.

In Mathura city, 50 km from Shernagar, soldier Bablu Singh’s wife echoed the sentiments.

“Do we know how many Pakistanis were killed in the surgical strike? They have been killing our men even after the strikes. Where is the revenge?” she asked.
Bablu, from the 18 Jat Regiment, was martyred in July 2016 in Nowgam sector of Jammu and Kashmir. He was killed by terrorists while trying to save an injured colleague.

Bablu’s brother Sonu said, “The issue of surgical strike cannot be politicized. Sacrifice of our brother is no issue to demand votes on.”

In Shernagar, the three uncles of Hemraj holding the family together claimed demonetization is the bigger issue this election.

Harkishan Singh, Hemraj’s uncle and head of the family said, “The bigger issue this election is demonetization. We had to spend a full day, sometimes 2 days just to get money to buy diesel, khad, seeds etc. The nearest bank is in Kosi which is 18 km away. Even there, they give you Rs 2000 notes. Where do I get the change? I can’t buy goods worth Rs 100 because no one is willing to give me change for Rs 2000 if after all this the farmer loans were waived off we would still have forgiven the government.”

Amarchand Singh, another uncle of Hemraj, said, “I saw Modi’s speech of 31st December. We were all hoping for a farm loan waiver. Instead he announced Rs 6000 rupees for women. How will our women go alone to a bank which is 18 km away? “

The state government has not been spared too. Virender Kumar, a villager, said, “Our issues are roads. To reach the nearest hospital we have to go to Kosi. You have seen the roads. If a pregnant woman is taken on that road, she will either die or go into labour early.”
Ajay Singh, the village pradhan, added, “Akhilesh Yadav (UP CM) had visited us after Hemraj’s death. He promised to build the road but the newly-built road lasted for only one year.”

“We voted for BJP last time in the name of Modi, we might give him one last chance. But I can tell you, in my village he will lose votes because of demonetization,” Harkishan signed off.