New Delhi: The Congress hit out at the government over its "failure" on the national security front in Jammu and Kashmir after five Army soldiers lost their lives in an operation in Poonch.
The opposition party said the Union territory is burning and terrorists are killing innocent people due to the government's "weakness".
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi shared on Facebook pictures of the five soldiers who lost their lives and said, "Salute to these brave martyrs of the country."
"This incident is not only a reflection of the Modi government's failure on the national security front but also exposes their 'nationalism' facade. J&K is burning, terrorists are running rampant through the region and our people are paying for this government's weakness with their lives," the Congress said on its Twitter handle.
The party also sent its deepest condolences to the families of the soldiers who died in the operation.
"The nation is shocked and saddened to learn about the martyrdom of five brave soldiers in an encounter with terrorists in J&K's Poonch," the party said.
Five Army personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), lost their lives in a fierce gunfight with terrorists during an operation in Poonch district, officials said.
The operation was launched in a village close to Dera Ki Gali (DKG) in Surankote in the early hours following intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists who had infiltrated from across the Line of Control (LoC).
A defense spokesman said the ultras opened heavy fire on search parties, resulting in critical injuries to the JCO and four other personnel.
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh, when asked, said Kashmir was once again burning even when it was directly under the control of the central government.
He said innocent people, including teachers, were being killed in Kashmir and asked why was the valley burning despite being directly under the central government's control.
"My only question is that has an investment in the Kashmir valley increased, or employment risen or FDI comes in big numbers after the abrogation of Article 370? The reply is a big no," he said.
He claimed that the employment level and capital inflow got reduced in comparison to the era when Article 370 was in place.
"Whatever you do is for political reasons and not for the betterment of people. Today terrorist activities in Kashmir are increasing. Your misgovernance has led to all this," the Congress leader alleged.
The Jammu and Kashmir unit of Congress expressed grief and shock over the killing of the Army personnel and urged the BJP-led government to take effective measures to contain Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in the Union Territory.
The party described the terror attack as a "cowardly" act and also paid rich tributes to the soldiers.