Prime Minister Narendra Modi has insulted the sacrifice of Col. Santosh Babu, who died during a combat with the Chinese troops in 2020, by lying about China intruding into the Indian territory, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Thursday. 

Addressing a corner meeting in Telangana’s Sangareddy, Mr Gandhi claimed that China was still occupying 2000 sq km of Indian land, which is more than the area of the national capital.

“You remember Santosh Babu who sacrificed his life for the country. I want to remind you that the Indian Prime Minister after Santosh Babu became a martyr, told the people that China did not encroach on Indian territory.” Col Babu, the commanding officer of the 16 Bihar regiment, was among 20 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the fierce hand-to-hand combat on June 15, 2020 in the Galwan Valley, an incident that marked one of the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.

Attacking PM Modi, Mr Gandhi said, “If China did not encroach on Indian territory, then how did Santosh Babu became martyr? Prime Minister has insulted Santosh Babu.” The Congress leader wanted to know what the PM was doing about securing the Indian territory from China.

“Even today, 2000 sq km land belonging to India is with China. My question to the Prime Minister is what are you going to do and when?” The Gandhi scion charged the BJP and RSS with ‘spreading’ hatred in the country.

He pointed out that the granite industry in Telangana’s Karimnagar, Khammam and Warangal districts which used to provide employment to 4.5 lakh people was badly affected by demonetisation in 2016 and “faulty” implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Mr Gandhi said he came across many students and graduates, during his foot march, who informed him that they were not able to get any employment and are now working for Uber or as labourers.

He alleged that both the BJP and ruling TRS worked in tandem, and the latter supported all the Bills introduced by the former in Parliament.

Hitting out at Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Mr Gandhi alleged that KCR “reschedules” irrigation projects to make money.

He accused PM Modi of handing over ports, airports and telecom companies in the country to two or three of his “friends”.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi today symbolically whipped himself as part of the ‘Potharajulu’ ritual, part of Telangana’s much-admired Bonalu festival and also shook a leg with Dhimsa artists. Dhimsa is a tribal dance form.