New Delhi, Feb 16: Pakistan cannot weaken India by mounting attacks and those responsible will pay a 'very heavy price', Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned on Friday as echoes from the Pulwama terror strike rang across the country with families awaiting the bodies of their loved ones in coffins wrapped in the tricolor.
Security forces will be given a free hand to deal with terrorists, the prime minister said, a day after 40 Central Reserve Police Force soldiers were killed when a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle laden with explosives into their bus in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
The Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack on the convoy of 78 vehicles that was on its way from Jammu to Srinagar.
In a hard-hitting speech at the launch of the Vande Bharat train 18 in New Delhi, Modi said the 'blood of the people is boiling' and forces behind the act of terrorism will definitely be punished.
"Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling...Our neighboring country, which has been isolated internationally, thinks such terror attacks can destabilize us, but their plans will not materialize," Modi said.
Addressing a public meeting in Jhansi later in the day, the prime minister again did not name Pakistan but said the attack was an outcome of its desperation as it is in a bad shape and has been forced to go to different countries with a 'begging bowl' to meet even its daily expenses.