West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday demanded that the Centre share details about the Indian Air Force’s strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan. Banerjee said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not held an all-party meeting with members about the operation.
The Trinamool Congress leader accused the Centre of politicising the operation. “We want to know what actually happened,” she said. “National television channels were saying that 300-350 people were killed [in the operation]. Some international channels say one died. We want to know how many actually died.”
“Where did the bombs fall?” she asked. “Did they fall at the right place? Even we are with the forces, but we want the forces to be given a chance to speak the truth. The country needs to know the truth.”
“We don’t want political ends to be pursued,” Banerjee added. “If it is for the country, we are with the country. But if it is for politics, and for winning elections, we don’t want that.”
She accused the government of not taking action despite receiving an advisory that a terror attack such as the one at Pulwama might occur.
Banerjee’s statement follows a joint statement issued by leaders of Opposition parties on Thursday, who expressed their anguish over the BJP’s “blatant politicisation” of the sacrifices made by the armed forces.
In retaliation to India’s attack on the Jaish-e-Mohammad camp, Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft violated Indian airspace and engaged in a skirmish with Indian Air Force planes on Wednesday. An Indian MiG-21 jet and a Pakistani F-16 were downed during the skirmish. The pilot of the MiG-21 aircraft landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and was taken into Pakistani custody.
On Thursday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman, will be released from custody on Friday.