Opposition slams government on air strike casualty claims

Opposition leaders hit out at the government on Monday over claims on the number of terrorists killed in the Balakot air strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF). At an election rally in Ahmedabad, BJP President Amit Shah had claimed that more than 250 terrorists were killed in the air strike on a terrorist training camp last week.

“300 terrorist dead, Yes or No? What was the purpose then? Were you uprooting terrorist or trees? Was it an election gimmick? Deceit possesses our land in guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Stop politicising the army, it is as sacred as the state,” Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu‏ said in a tweet.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram too questioned the claims and said as a proud citizen he is prepared to believe the government but “if we want the world to believe, government must make the effort, not indulge in Opposition-bashing.”

“IAF Vice Air Marshal declined to comment on casualties. MEA statement said there were no civilian or military casualties. So, who put out the number of casualties as 300-350?,” he said on twitter.

He also questioned as to why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was silent about the air strike. Stating that Congress President Rahul Gandhi was the first to salute the IAF for its splendid achievement, he questioned, “Why has Mr. Modi forgotten that?”

Talking to the media in Coimbatore on Monday, Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said the statement on causalities will be made by the government. “IAF is not in a position to clarify on how many people were there. We don’t count human casualties, we count what targets have we hit or not hit,” he said.


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