Punjab minister and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu criticised the Centre, asking if the Indian strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan was just an “election gimmick”.
Sidhu is the latest to demand details from the Centre on the cross-border air strike. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Digvijay Singh have sought evidence and clarity on the number of casualties in the strikes.
“300 terrorist dead, Yes or No?” tweeted Sidhu. “What was the purpose then? Were you uprooting terrorist or trees? Was it an election gimmick? Deceit possesses our land in guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Stop politicising the army, it is as sacred as the state.” he said.
Sidhu cited media reports quoting BJP leaders like BS Yeddyurappa, who claimed the air strike will help the party win more seats in Karnataka, and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who alleged that Pakistan “could attack the Indian Parliament and Assam Assembly” if Narendra Modi is not elected the prime minister again.
Sidhu also tweeted a video that cited international media reports quoting Pakistani officials or villagers as saying that Indian jets had dropped bombs in a wooded area, causing no damage or casualties. Two Reuters reporters who had visited the site of the bombings reported seeing four large craters and up to 15 damaged pine trees.
“Skimmed milk masquerades as cream, things are seldom as they seem,” Sidhu said along with the video.
On February 26, the Indian Air Force carried out air strikes at a camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. India called the operation a “non-military, counter-terror preemptive action”, and said it had eliminated “a large number” of terror operatives.
Multiple media reports, quoting unidentified officials, had pegged the number of casualties at over 300, and some estimated it at even 600. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Tuesday refused to state the number of casualties from the cross-border air strike. “We can’t count how many people died, it depends on how many people were there,” he said.