Congress leader Digvijaya Singh triggered a major controversy on Saturday by asking for “proof” of the Indian Air Force (IAF) strike on Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
“I am not raising questions on the operation, but this is the technical age and satellite pictures are possible. Like USA had given solid proof of the Osama operation to the world, we should also do it for our air strike,” he said during a press interaction in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore.
Singh praised Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for releasing IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
“I also congratulate the honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan for showing us a new way of being a good neighbour and returned the brave Indian Air Force officer to us,” the Congress leader said.
“Now he should show courage by handing over Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar to us,” he added.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was among the first to have raised questions on the IAF strike and demanded that the government should reveal operational details such as number of terrorists killed and location of the bombing.
Addressing the media on Thursday, Banerjee cited foreign media reports which claimed that the IAF did not do much damage to the terror camps at Balakot.
“The Force should be given an opportunity to come up with facts,” she said, adding, “After the air strikes, we were told there were 300-350 deaths. But I read reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post which said no human was killed. Another foreign media report said only one person was injured.”
“We have the right to know, people of this country want to know how many were killed (at Balakot). Where the bomb was actually dropped? Was it dropped on the target?” she insisted.
On the same day, while addressing a tri-services joint press conference, Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor told the media that it is “premature to say number of casualties on the camp” but added that “whatever we intended to destroy we got that result”.
“We have evidence to show that whatever we wanted to do and targets we wanted to destroy, we have done that. Decision to show the evidence is on senior leadership,” the AVM said responding to a question on the details of the strike and the number of terrorists killed.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “politicising” the bravery and martyrdom of India’s soldiers.
“Latest instances of Modiji’s cronyism are the Rafale deal and handing over of 5 out of 6 airports to his crony friends,” he said in a statement.
The Congress also hit out at the ruling dispensation for its alleged poor handling of the economy.
“Modiji’s directionless policies and myopia of economic vision have been disastrous for India’s economy. No wonder, every economic expert across the spectrum now says Modinomics’ is harmful for the country.
“With nearly 50 days to go, India awaits for Modi government’s departure,” Surjewala added.