We’ve heard the phrase ‘putting your foot in your mouth’. Now there is a new one ‘ putting a burning boat in your mouth’ and then trying hard to spit it out before it becomes a bone of contention for our Defense Minister. In Bengluru for a Air show that the PM is also slated to attend, Parrikar found it difficult to get away from the boat that is all burnt and blown up, its inmates killed, but whose ghost still lingers on…
It all happened on 31st night of December, the last night of the year when merry makers party around bon fires. If what DIG B.K. Loshali of Coast Guard boasted about is true, he decided to have a grand bon fire of his own. There was this ‘suspicious boat’ loitering in the Arabian sea, way out of our legal jurisdiction of 12 nautical miles, yet close enough to come under the gaze of our Navy and our Coast guard.
What happened next no one knows exactly, but there was a big fire and the boat was blown clear out of the ocean killing everyone on board instantly. There were visuals of its burning that we all saw on TV the next day.
“They were Pakistani terrorists trying to sneak into India” we were told by the Government but then many doubts were raised about this version – also the location of the boat was disputed. “They were smugglers” opined some from the media.
“They blew themselves up” was another statement that was put out.
By now, with February almost coming to an end the boat was out of everyone’s mind when suddenly a video from Gandhinagar emerged.
It was an official Coast guard function with officers and some spouses attending. This guy DIG B.K. Loshali goes to the podium and says jovially ” I have been asked to speak”.
And then he goes on to narrate how he, personally gave the order to have the Pakistan boat blown clear out of the sea.
“We shot at it and blew it off” he boasts and then adds ” we dont want to feed any more biryani do we?” ( An allusion to Kasab who was the lone terrorist captured alive after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and when he was incarcerated in Mumbai prison while a case was going on against him was allegedly fed biryani. This feast was instrumental in many jibes and taunts going the way of former UPA Defense Minister).
Next day, somehow the official video found its way into the Indian Express office who aired it and wrote the story.
The din hit the roofs today i.e. on Wednesday. When Manohar Parrikar tried to adress the media in Bengluru today about the Air force he was hounded with questions about the DIGs statement which he tried his best to refute.
“The boatmen committed suicide” was his explaination now. He has also promised to release some documentary and visual proof of what really happened according to them.
This could end up being a very touchy and hard to explain situation for the Government with both UPA and Pakistan accusing the Govt. of being trigger happy and aggressive. This in turn is prompting the BJP spokespersons to doubt Congress’ patriotism and saying they are siding with and fanning Pakistani accusations.
But as one Defense Analyst pointed out that sane deliberation on the subject will show that if there is even a grain of truth in what the Coast Guard officer is saying it will be untenable for India to protest if its fishermen are now attacked in open waters by our neighbours.
Naturally Loshali and others in the Navy, apart from the Minister are now refuting the video and its contents though what was said was crystal clear.