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Ready to Believe Govt on Air Strikes But Who Put Number of Casualties at 300, Asks Chidambaram

The senior Congress leader also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to desist from Opposition bashing on the issue if India wants the world to believe the air strikes.


Updated:March 4, 2019, 7:43 AM IST
Ready to Believe Govt on Air Strikes But Who Put Number of Casualties at 300, Asks Chidambaram
File photo of Congress senior leader P Chidambaram (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Monday hit out at the Centre over the air strikes by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan’s Balakot, saying if the government wanted the world to believe the operation on terror camps, it should not indulge in “Opposition bashing”.

Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said if the IAF Vice Air Marshal declined to comment on casualties in the air strikes and the MEA statement said there were no civilian or military casualties, then “who put out the number of casualties as 300-350”.

Chidambaram also said Congress president Rahul Gandhi was the first to salute the Indian Air Force for its splendid achievement. “Why has Mr Modi forgotten that?” he asked.

The Congress leader’s comments came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the Sankalp Rally in Patna, hit out at the Opposition for demanding proof of the air strikes and said the move would demoralise forces.

Modi said the opposition parties were speaking a language that "suits" Pakistan. "Leaders of the neighbouring country are using it as a shield to protect themselves against the charge of promoting terrorism. They are clapping gleefully," he said, adding that there seemed to be a competition among the opposition parties led by the Congress for hurling abuse at the "chowkidar". "But the people of the country have made up their minds. They are going to punish these parties once again and teach them a few more lessons."

Twelve Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) last week and destroyed terror camps of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. The air strike, which has been dubbed surgical strikes 2.0, comes two weeks after a terror attack on CRPF soldiers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir. The issue, however, turned political after several opposition leaders raised doubts on the veracity of the claims and demanded proof of the destroyed camps.

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