Amid controversy over India’s “surgical strikes” along the Line of Control, the Indian Army has agreed to release footage from the military operations, Economic Times reported on Wednesday. However, according to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office will make the final decision. Pakistan has claimed the strikes never took place, while several opposition party leaders, including Sanjay Nirupam and Arvind Kejriwal, have questioned the veracity of the operation.
A senior government official told Economic Times, “There is no doubt at all that the strikes inflicted heavy damage. Proof is available with the government that clearly shows our troops engaging the targets effectively.” Sources also said the decision to release footage will depend on Pakistan’s response, and on whether the move will worsen ties between the two countries.
Meanwhile, eye-witnesses who apparently live along the Line of Control, spoke to The Indian Express and have given details of the surgical strikes. The English daily reported that the witnesses supported India’s claims of carrying out the military operations, and that they have given “graphic accounts” of the September 29 strikes. The report also has details of where the surgical strikes were conducted, based on intelligence it gathered. According to the publication, the number of those who died in the operation may be less than was speculated in the Indian media.
The eye-witnesses spoke of loud explosions and “intense” small-arms fire late that night, in a hamlet around 4 km from India’s post at Gulab, ahead of Kupwara in Kashmir. However, they said none of the villagers left their houses so they did not see the Indian soldiers, but “gathered from the Lashkar [e-Taiba] people the next day that they had been attacked”. Documents and intelligence officials also showed that the surgical strikes “caught the Lashkar and other jihadist groups by surprise” and “has made them [militants] feel unsafe”.
The strikes follow a militant attack on an Indian Army camp in Kashmir's Uri on September 18. Nineteen soldiers died in the attack.