Two families of CRPF personnel killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama bombing have raised questions over government’s claim of killing terrorists in last month’s air-strike in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Referring to questions raised by political parties over the terrorist casualties in the February 26 aerial strike carried out by Indian Air Force (IAF), both the families of Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli and Mainpuri asked the government to “show” the bodies of terrorists killed in the strike as a “proof” and confirm the impact of the attack.
Pradeep Kumar from Shamli and Ram Vakeel from Mainpuri were among the 40 CRPF personnel who lost their lives in the February 14 suicide bombing carried out by a Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) when their convoy was moving on Jammu-Srinagar highway in Pulwama.
Geeta Devi, the widow of Vakeel, said: “We are in grief and want revenge for their family member’s life.”
Geeta Devi said that when even Pakistan is not ready to accept the number of people killed in Balakot air strike, the government should make public the evidence of the number of terrorists killed in Balakot.
“As evidence, we have received the bodies of our jawans after Pulwama attack, but there is no such evidence of the airstrikes in Pakistan,” she said.
Speaking in support of Geeta, Vakeel’s sister Ram Raksha said that people should know what exactly happened.
Terming claims of several BJP leaders, including President Amit Shah, about the killing of over 250 terrorists as false, she said: “How does one believe that the strike did occur and that terrorists died? Show us proof, only then we will get peace and know that my brother’s killing has been avenged.”
Meanwhile, Vakeel’s brother Ram Naresh said: “If the government is claiming that they have killed 300 terrorists, then they should provide some proof, some evidence”.
Vakeel is survived by his wife and three sons. He had returned to Kashmir on February 11 after spending a month-long vacation with his family in his hometown, Mainpuri.
In Shamli, the 80-year-old mother of Pradeep Kumar also echoed the same sentiments.
“We are not satisfied. So many sons died. There are no dead bodies on the other side. In fact, there was no confirmed news. We need to see this on TV. And we need to be told at our homes. We need to see the dead bodies of the terrorists,” said Sulelata.
In retaliation to Pulwama terror strike, IAF fighter jets hit JeM training camps on February 26 morning.
Hours after the attack, Foreign Secretary Vijay K. Gokhale had confirmed that India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot and “a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated”.
As the government has not come out with an exact number of killings of terrorists in the IAF strike, various ministers have quoted different figures. The IAF has said its job was not to count bodies but to hit targets.
On Tuesday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh appeared to validate the unofficial figure of “300” while countering the Congress. That too, after his colleague, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, remained silent on the casualty figure.
“The NTRO (National Technical Research Organisation), which has an authentic system, said that 300 mobile phones were active… were these mobile phones used by the trees? Now will you not believe the NTRO also?” Singh said after inaugurating a surveillance system of the Border Security Force in Assam.