New Delhi: At a time when Rajnath Singh is facing criticism by Opposition and netizens for performing ‘Shashtra Puja’ (Worshiping of weapons) on the first Rafale jet, Pakistan’s Army spokesperson Asif Ghafoor has extended support to the Union Defence Minister, saying, “There is nothing wrong in Rafale Puja as it goes by the religion”.
“Nothing wrong in #RafalePuja as it goes by the religion and that must be respected. Please, remember….it’s not the machine alone which matters but competence, passion & resolve of the men handling that machine. Proud of our PAF Shaheens,” tweeted Ghafoor on Thursday. Ghafoor’s statement comes at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated post revocation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier on October 8, on the occasion of Dussehra, Singh performed ‘Shastra Puja’ after receiving the first of the 36 French-built Rafale fighter jet in the French port city of Bordeaux. He emblazoned the Rafale aircraft with an ‘Om’ and laid flowers, coconut and lemons to ward off evil eye.
Following his act, a war of word began between BJP and Congress which later spread on to social media. Calling the ‘Puja’ a ‘tamasha’, veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that everal defence purchases were made during the Congress regime. But there was no show-off like the one Rajnath Singh apparently did.
“There is no need to do such ‘tamasha’ (drama). When we bought weapons-like the Bofors gun previously purchased, no one went and brought them while showing off”, the Congress leader told ANI.
Reacting sharply to Congress’ criticisms, Union home minister Amit Shah, while addressing a BJP rally in poll-bound Haryana stated,”Is ‘Shastra Puja’ not performed on Vijayadashami? I want to tell them (the Congress) — Think about what should be opposed and what not.”
On the other hand, rebel Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam backed Singh, saying,”There is no need to read too much between the lines”.
On Thursday, Singh too had defended himself and said that he did what he thought was appropriate. “This is our faith that there is a superpower and I have believed it since childhood. I feel there must have been a division over the issue in Congress too, it must not have been everybody’s opinion”, the defence minister told reporters after returning to New Delhi from his three-day tour to France.