Lashing out heavily at the Congress after Sam Pitroda’s remarks on the IAF strike, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the most trusted advisor and guide of Rahul Gandhi has kickstarted the Pakistan National Day celebrations on behalf of the Congress, ironically by demeaning Indian armed forces.

The PM said the Opposition has insulted the country’s armed forces time and again.

Sparking a massive controversy, Gandhi’s close confidant and Chairman of Indian Overseas Congress Sam Pitroda earlier in the day made shocking remarks on the IAF strike questioning the death toll in Balakot after the Indian Air Force dropped bombs on JeM camps in a pre-dawn attack on February 26.

Questioning the strike impact, Pitroda asked, “I would like to know more as I have read in New York Times and other newspapers, what did we really attack, we really killed 300 people?”

“If you say 300 people were killed, we all need to know that; all Indians need to know that. Then comes the global media which says nobody was killed. I look bad as an Indian citizen,” he added.

Referring to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people, Sam Pitroda further said, “Eight people come and do something, you don’t jump on an entire nation. It is 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”.

He also said that “attacks happen all the time, it also happened in Mumbai”, adding that the government could have then reacted and just sent fighter planes, but that is not the right approach”.

The Indian Overseas Congress chief further said that it was not the right approach by the Government to send Indian fighters to deal with issues like terror attacks.

Taking a dig at the Congress, PM Modi reacted saying the “loyal courtier of Congress’ royal dynasty admits what the nation already knew – that the Congress was unwilling to respond to forces of terror”.

“This is a New India – we will answer terrorists in a language they understand and with interest,” PM Modi tweeted.

The Prime Minister further appealed to the citizens of the country to question the Opposition leaders on their statements and let them know that the 130 crore Indians will not forgive or forget the Opposition for their antics.

Union Minister Smriti Irani too hit back at the Congress saying “now the nation knows why Rahul Gandhi’s UPA chose not to respond with full might post the Mumbai terror attacks”, adding that “Congress sympathies with Pakistan stands exposed”.

The remarks by Pitroda come on a day when the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi is hosting the reception for the Pakistan National Day, the invite to which has been declined by the Government citing the presence of Hurriyat leaders.

Many Congress leaders have demanded proof of the retaliatory assault and casualties in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack that left over 44 CRPF men dead on February 14.

Following the Pulwama attack, India carried out “non-military pre-emptive” airstrikes targeting the JeM training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control (LoC) early on February 26.

Hours after the pre-dawn offensive, Government sources had claimed that over 300 terrorists were killed.

The sparring between the government and the opposition intensified after BJP chief Amit Shah claimed that “more than 250” terrorists were killed in the operation, even when the government was yet to give out an official count of the terrorists killed.