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Evidence of Balakot strike causalities: Modi fails to silence opposition’s demands

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News Desk |

Shiv Sena on Tuesday accused the BJP-led government of withholding facts about the Indian Air Force’s strike on alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistan, and stated that “Indians have a right to know about the casualties”. The leading opposition party has repeatedly demanded the BJP-led government to reveal the exact number of casualties incurred in the air strike that New Delhi allegedly undertook on 26th February.

In an editorial published in the Saamana, the official mouthpiece of the Shiv Sena party, Sena raises many interesting questions about the Pulwama attack and the alleged IAF air strike on Pakistani soil. The editorial notes that the questions of the exact number of “terrorists” is not just being raised by the political opposition against Prime Minister Modi, but in fact, international media has also raised the same question.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh lashed out at the Modi-led government and accused the government of presenting an inaccurate number of casualties and false facts about IAF’s alleged air strike in Balakot.

“Citizens of the country have a right to know what and how much harm has been caused to the enemy by the defense forces. We do not think the morale of our forces is being lowered by asking for it”, the Hindustan Times quoted the Marathi-language newspaper. The Saamana editorial went on to say that the leaders of the opposition are “demanding proofs”, a demand that has “angered the Prime Minister”. The article goes onto question the ammunition used during the Pulwama attack and reinstated that the opposition will continue raising these questions until the elections have been concluded.

The strongly-worded article raises several questions, “Where did the 300-kg RDX used in Pulwama attack come from? How many terrorists were killed in our strikes on terror camps? Discussions over these will happen till the last days of polls. ” The Shiv Sena mouthpiece further stated that the opposition parties are extremely disappointed by Prime Minister Modi’s decision of dropping a “bomb on the burning issues of inflation, unemployment, and the Rafael deal”, all of which were being used as ammunition against the incompetence of the Modi-led government.

Read more: Voices inside India blame Modi for Pulwama

The editorial added that the political situation created by the IAF strike on “terrorist launch pad” in Pakistan had triggered a warlike crisis, which allowed the Modi government to sideline several pressing issues, such as the “Ram temple in Ayodhya the agrarian crisis, and the repealing of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Earlier on Sunday, Amit Shah, the President of BJP, had stirred the debate on casualties by claiming that the IAF airstrike had managed to kill “250 terrorists” in the alleged airstrike in Balakot. His comments came after SS Ahluwalia, BJP’s Union Minister, had stated that the strikes were only meant to instill New Delhi’s fear in Pakistan.

Congress Joins in the Blame Game

While speaking to the Gulf News, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior Congress politician, Ghulam Nabi Azad lashed out at Prime Minister Modi for his strategy of provoking Pakistan towards war. He made a strongly worded statement against Modi, “The ruling party under Prime Minister Modi is attempting to gain political mileage from the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan. He is acting as if the Indian army is his personal force”.

Modi went onto take another sharply worded dig at the opposition leaders by saying that even though the air strike was conducted in Pakistan, “many sitting in India were also hit by it”.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the BJP-led government of attempting to exploit the tensions between India and Pakistan, and playing the communal violence card with blatant disregard to the fact that India is a secular state with multiple religious identities. Azad noted, “It is important to remember that India consists of multiple religions, castes, and regions. No political party, last of all the ruling party, should attempt to exploit this extremely sensitive situation that India finds itself embroiled in”. Azad urged the Modi-led government to exercise caution and act maturely.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh lashed out at the Modi-led government and accused the government of presenting an inaccurate number of casualties and false facts about IAF’s alleged air strike in Balakot. He stated that these facts and figures do not match with the reportage conducted by an international media outlet, which is a concerning fact as it poses a serious question on the “credibility of our government”.

Read more: Was political gain, only motivation of Indian failed adventurism?

Singh went on to say “Some ministers in your government had claimed that 300 terrorists were killed, the BJP chief claims 250, Yogi Adityanath claims 400 were killed, and your minister SS Ahluwalia says no one was killed. And you are silent over this issue”. Singh also stated that the BJP-led government is seeking to create the alleged IAF attack as a “success story of the armed forces” and use it to their advantage of making political wins. He further added that these actions are “disrespectful of the valor and bravery of the Indian soldiers”.

Modi Fails to Rebut the Opposition

While addressing a public rally in the Dhar region of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, PM Modi lashed out at the opposition leaders for accusing him over his “decisive action” against terror and reaping applause for their statements in Pakistan. Hindustan Time quoted Modi, “They (leaders of the opposition) have become the poster boys of Pakistan. Their statements make headlines in the newspapers of Pakistan. They see Pakistan as an angel of peace.”

In a very aggressive manner, Goyal questioned the patriotism of journalist that how could he even think about questioning the success of the Indian army’s ability and success of the operation.

While referring to the demands for proof emerging from the Shiv Sena and the Congress, he said, “Someone wants proof of the IAF attack, while others demand to know the exact number of casualties caused by our forces. They seek to weaken our resolve against terrorism. They are attempting to break the morale of our security forces”, argued Modi.

He further added that the entire world is standing in solidarity with India while the opposition leaders are weakening India’s position by demanding proof of the air strike and claims of casualties. Modi went onto take another sharply worded dig at the opposition leaders by saying that even though the air strike was conducted in Pakistan, “many sitting in India were also hit by it”.

Another leader of BJP, Piyush Goyal– the minister of railways and coal– lost his cool when a senior Indian Journalist, Rahul Kanwal asked Goyal about the ambiguity of government’s narrative on Balakot strike and if the government was under pressure to demonstrate and prove to the world the success of the strike.

Read more: Pakistan strikes back: Global media questions Indian military’s capability

In a very aggressive manner, Goyal questioned the patriotism of journalist that how could he even think about questioning the success of the Indian army’s ability and success of the operation. Goyal went on to say that Kanwal was trying to belittle the arm forces and was trying to prove that the army was lying.

While addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry noted that Modi’s warmongering has turned him into a laughing stock, while Prime Minister Imran Khan has won hearts and respect of millions across the world. Fawad Chaudhry noted that Pakistan has responded to New Delhi’s provocation in a mature and responsible manner, while voices from the Indian opposition, media, and public at large are now accusing Modi of putting the Indian population and army at risk for his own political gains.

Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.