Were You Uprooting Terrorists or Trees? Sidhu Takes a Dig at Centre Over IAF Strikes

File photo of Navjot Singh Sidhu. (Photo: Reuters)

File photo of Navjot Singh Sidhu. (Photo: Reuters)

The Congress MLA from Punjab tweeted asking for confirmation on the number of terrorists killed in the February 26 airstrike.


Ramlal Kondal

Chandigarh: Punjab cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday took a dig at the Centre, asking if 300 terrorists were indeed killed in the recent air strikes by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan’s Balakot as claimed by the government.

“300 terrorist dead, yes or no? What was the purpose then? Were you uprooting terrorists 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,” the Congress MLA tweeted.

Sidhu’s comment comes days after Pakistan accused India of “eco-terrorism” and said pine trees were damaged in the strikes. Islamabad has so far denied the presence of any terror camps in the area.

Several opposition parties have also raised questions on the credibility of the February 26 IAF air strikes. Two days after the 12 Mirage 2000 aircraft dropped 1,000kg bombs on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training camp in Pakistan, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee demanded that the Centre share the exact details of the operation.

“We want to know what happened actually. National TV channels were showing that 300 to 350 people were killed. International media saying one. We want to know how many actually died. We want to know whether anyone was killed or not,” she had said.

On Sunday, a day after the return of IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, a war of words ensued between the Congress and Prime Minister Modi after INC general secretary Digvijaya Singh asked the Centre to provide proof of the air strikes.

In a rally in Bihar on Sunday, Modi slammed opposition party leaders for “raising doubts” and “asking for proof of the Balakot strike”. “While we are out to counter terrorism what are some people inside the country doing?” he said.

The Indian Air Force on the intervening night of February 25-26 conducted air strikes deep inside the Pakistani territory. Though preliminary unconfirmed reports claimed around 300-350 terrorists were killed in the attack, the Indian government is yet to come clear on the figure.

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