Congress seeks PM, Sushma statement on China move against pilgrims

New Delhi: Congress on Monday demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj make a “comprehensive statement” on China’s move to stop Indian pilgrims from travelling to Kailash Mansarovar.

Asking the government to ensure that the route was opened after taking it up with Chinese counterparts, the Congress also questioned the government maintaining a “conspiratorial silence” on the issue.

“The BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi patted their back immensely when the alternate route of this Mansarovar Yatra was started through the Chinese territory.

“Unfortunately in the very first year, China has unilaterally and without reason blocked the Mansarovar Yatra,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“Many ‘Shiv bhakts’ (Lord Shiva devotees), who had already undertaken a large part of their journey, have been sent back without any reason,” he said.

“All the facilities constructed on the way have also been unilaterally demolished by China. We want to ask the government why has it adopted a conspiratorial silence on the issue now.

“The PM and the External Affairs Minister should make a comprehensive statement on the issue, take it up with its chinese counterparts and ensure that this route is opened again for the pilgrims,” said Surjewala.

China on Monday refused to divulge why it had stopped a group of Indian pilgrims from travelling to Kailash Mansarovar, saying the foreign ministries of both countries were in touch over the issue.

“According to my information, the foreign ministries of the two countries are maintaining communication on the issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had said.

Last week, the first batch of 47 Indian pilgrims was stopped by Chinese authorities at the international border.