Former Union minister Arun Shourie on Thursday blamed journalists for misconstruing his comments on the 2016 surgical strikes. The Bharatiya Janata Party member had on Tuesday reportedly called the strikes against Pakistan “farzical”. He was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Congress leader Saifuddin Soz’s book, Kashmir: Glimpses of History.
“When I said ‘farzical’ I meant that the over-hyping of a military strike makes it into a farcical incident,” Shourie told ANI. “I never had any doubt on the fact that the strike took place. But to use it for propaganda and to boast about it that ‘my chest is 56 inch and I gave a befitting reply to Pakistan’, is wrong.”
Regarding news channels airing a video that purportedly shows the strikes, Shourie said, “Imagine a situation if strikes would have happened during Atalji’s time and people would have asked him, he would’ve had a twinkle in his eye and said, ‘Really a strike has happened?’ Today [the] credibility of [the] government is so low that they have to provide video proof when asked.”
News channels claimed the video clips were accessed from official sources and taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Thermal Imaging cameras used by the Army to monitor the operation. “The videos are real,” retired Lieutenant General DS Hooda told The Indian Express. Hooda was the former Northern Army Commander who was in charge of the surgical strikes.
The Congress on Thursday also accused the Narendra Modi-led government and the BJP of using the armed forces and the 2016 surgical strikes for political gains. “Let the ruling dispensation remember that the blood and sacrifice of our brave soldiers cannot become a political vote garnering tool for the Modi government and the BJP,” All India Congress Committee communication in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement.
On September 29, 2016, Indian Army’s then Director General of Military Operations Ranbir Singh said that they had carried out “surgical strikes on terror launchpads” across the Line of Control the previous night. Singh had said that the action was taken after receiving information about infiltrators planning to cross the LoC.
Pakistan, however, said that India was deliberately and erroneously using the term surgical strikes to describe existing “cross-border fire” operations in an effort to “create false effects” and “media hype”.