New Delhi: In the wake of IAF’s Balakot airstrike, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu asked the Centre to clear the claims regarding the number of terrorists killed in the attack. Joining a chorus of skepticism from Opposition leaders, Sidhu asked, “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 the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Stop politicising the Army, it is as sacred as the State.”
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Kapil Sibal had also questioned the Centre over the anti-terror action by IAF in Balakot and claimed that there were hardly any casualties in the strike.
He asked, “When the international media speak against Pakistan, you are “elated”. But when they ask questions (about the airstrike), they are asking because they support Pak?”
The statement comes a day after Prime Minister Modi slammed the Opposition for ‘asking for proof’ of the Balakot airstrike and indirectly demoralising the armed forces.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari had said, “The Opposition is not raising questions on the airstrike. The Prime Minister himself is doing that. The Prime Minister has said that if India had Rafale jets, the results would have been different. What does that statement mean?.”
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh also asked the government to provide evidence of the Balakot airstrikes conducted by IAF in Pakistan, similar to the way the United States demanded evidence after Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in 2011.
On February 26, as many as 12 IAF Mirage 2000 jets had crossed the LoC and dropped six 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs in all the terror hideouts at Balakot situated in the northwest of Muzaffarabad. The attack had killed as many as 300 terrorists, claimed initial reports. News agency ANI quoted sources as saying, “This was an intelligence-based counter-terror strike not a military action for sake of war. Have demolished entire terror set up in the suicide bombing training centre in Balakot, and over 300 terrorists were eliminated in the covert operation by Indian Air Force.”
(With Agency inputs)