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Sam Pitroda Adds to Cong Headache With 'Can't Blame Pak' Remark, Modi Fires at 'Terror Apologists'

Sam Pitroda Adds to Cong Headache With 'Can't Blame Pak' Remark, Modi Fires at 'Terror Apologists'

Wading into controversy weeks before general elections, Congress leader Sam Pitroda also questioned the multiple claims on the exact casualty count of the Balakot airstrikes.

New Delhi: Congress’s Indian overseas chief Sam Pitroda handed electoral advantage to the BJP on a platter on Friday with comments that entire Pakistan can’t be blamed for 26/11 and Pulwama terror attacks.

Launching a sharply worded attack on the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used Pitroda’s comment to reiterate that the Congress-led UPA governments didn’t act against Pakistan despite repeated provocations and terror attacks

Pitroda was quoted by news agency ANI as further questioning the death toll in the Balakot aistrike by the Indian Air Force in response to the Pulwama terror attack.

Speaking on the terror attack which killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, Pitroda said "Don't know much about attacks. It happens all the time. Attack happened in Mumbai also, we could have then reacted and just sent our planes but that is not right approach. According to me that's not how you deal with world."

Pitroda said it was not right to "punish" Pakistan because of a few terrorists. "Eight people (26/11 terrorists) come and do something, you don't jump on entire nation (Pakistan). Naive to assume that just because some people came here and attacked, every citizen of that nation is to be blamed. I don't believe in that way," Pitroda said.

Shortly after Pitroda’s comments were reported, Modi tweeted that Piroda was “loyal courtier of Congress’ royal dynasty”.

Speaking on India’s claims of destroying Jaish-e-Mohammad camps in Pakistan, close confidant of Rahul Gandhi, Pitroda said international news outlets had an alternate view of the impact of the air strike and that the people of India deserved to know the facts of the Air Force operation.

“I would like to know a little more because I read reports in the New York Times and other newspapers. Did we really attack? We really killed 300 people? I don’t know that. As a citizen, I am entitled to know and if I ask it is my duty to ask, that doesn’t mean I’m not a nationalist, That doesn’t mean I am on this side or that side. We need to know the facts. If you say 300 people were killed, I need to know that,” said Pitroda.

He also sought a dialogue with Pakistan. “I am a Gandhian, I believe in more compassion and respect. I believe in more dialogues personally. I think we should have a dialogue with everybody. Why just Pakistan? We are having dialogue with the whole world,” he added.

Pitroda in the latter half of the interview with ANI clarified that his remarks on the Pulwama terror attack and Balakot air strikes were his personal views and not those of the Congress. “I am talking as an individual. I am talking as a scientist. I believe in reason. I believe in logic. I believe in data. I don’t believe in emotions,” he added.

Speaking to News18 later, Pitroda said his comments were being quoted out of context.

“I have just asked a question. What is the problem in that? As citizens, we need to know the facts. What is so complicated in that and what is anti-national in this?” he asked.

Pitroda said what he talked about in the interview was the need for more information and facts that the government has a duty to provide to the public. “We respect jawans and their families. We feel for them. The PM can say what he has to, but why is everyone so upset,” he said.


first published:March 22, 2019, 10:49 IST