Navjot Singh Sidhu defending Pakistan on Pulwama attack irks Indian government

Navjot Singh Sidhu defending Pakistan on Pulwama attack irks Indian government
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NEW DELHI - Indian Punjab Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu defending Pakistan over the Pulwama attack has irked Indians.

Sidhu while responding to Pulwama attack asked whether an entire nation can be blamed for a handful of people.

Five CRPF personnel were also injured in Thursday's attack along with 44 killed, one of the deadliest in Jammu and Kashmir, when a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack that took place about 20 km from Srinagar.

The Punjab Assembly Friday strongly condemned the terror attack in Pulwama in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed and passed a resolution for adjournment of the proceedings of the House. [image: Pulwama attack: Sidhu says an individual can't be blamed]Sidhu, 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?"

Talking to reporters here after the Punjab Assembly was adjourned for the day in solidarity with the CRPF soldiers killed in the terror attack, the cricketer-turned-politician 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."

Asserting that terrorism has no caste or religion, Sidhu said, "For the last 71 years, this has been happening. Had they stopped ever?" "For me, violence is always condemnable. I believe in non-violence throughout. Violence is no solution for anything.

For me, non-violence is the most potent weapon to move forward," he added.

More than 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force personnel, many of them returning from leave to rejoin duty in the Valley, were travelling in a convoy of 78 vehicles when they were ambushed on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway at Latoomode in Awantipora in south Kashmir around 3.15 pm on Thursday.

New Delhi