Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh on Wednesday criticised those raising questions on the cross-border strike at Balakot in Pakistan and the number of terrorists killed in the air strike on February 26
“Next time when India does something, I think the opposition which is questioning today should be tied at the bottom the aircraft,” ANI quoted the minister as saying. “When the bomb is dropped, they can look at the target themselves, and then they can be dropped there, so that they can count and return.”
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Singh drew parallels between the number of terrorists killed in the air strike on a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammad on February 26 and mosquitoes in a room.
“Last night 3.30 am there were too many mosquitoes, so I used HIT (insect repellant),” Singh tweeted. “Now should I start counting how many mosquitoes I killed or should I go back to sleep?”
When asked about the tweet, Singh told ANI: “Do you count things? Bombs were exploded, buildings were hit [and] will people not be killed after an explosion of a 1,000 kg bomb? If killed, then you make an estimate of number of people killed. I don’t know who wants to count it. It’s unfortunate.”
Haryana minister Anil Vij on Tuesday had tweeted a similar comment. “The next time India strikes on Pakistan-based terrorists, then one of mahagathbandhan [grand alliance] leaders should be made to stand there so that they can count the bodies.”
Opposition leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu had asked the Centre whether the air strikes were related to the General Elections, which are expected to be held in April and May. They had asked the government to share details about the strike.
Several media reports, quoting unidentified officials, had pegged the number of casualties at over 300. Union Minister of State SS Ahluwalia refuted those media reports and claimed that the strikes were only meant as a warning. Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah, while addressing a rally in Ahmedabad, claimed more than 250 terrorists were killed in the Indian Air Force’s air strike.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday refused to provide the number of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists killed in the strike and said that the Centre stood by the foreign secretary’s remarks.