Press Trust of india

Cong ‘lowering’ morale of forces by seeking air strike proof, says BJP

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New Delhi, Mar 5 :  The BJP on Tuesday accused the Congress of “lowering the morale and prestige” of the forces by seeking evidence of the air strike carried out by the Indian Air Force on a “Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan.”

Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that senior Congress leaders were speaking the “language of Pakistan”.

The Congress, in turn, has criticised the BJP leadership for spreading “false propaganda” over the February 26 air strike in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The opposition party has questioned the basis for BJP president Amit Shah’s claim that “250 terrorists were killed in the strike” and asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi or his government was not giving out the details of casualties.

“They are not speaking in isolation. They have the blessings of (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi and (UPA chairperson) Sonia Gandhi,” Prasad said, naming senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Digvijaya Singh.

No foreign country has sought evidence of the air strike, the BJP leader said, adding that Congress leaders do not believe in Indian media reports.

By seeking proof, he said, the Congress was “lowering the morals and prestige” of the security forces.

Prasad also attacked West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee. “Mamata ji, you have seen struggle. What is wrong with you?”

One week on, there is no clarity on the number of people killed in the strike on a “Jaish-e-Mohammed camp in Balakot”.

On the day of the strike, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said a “very large number of terrorists” were killed in Balakot. On Monday, IAF chief B S Dhanoa said the Air Force does not count human casualties and it is for the government to provide details on the death toll.

Government sources had said “up to 350 terrorists were killed,” BJP president Amit Shah later put the toll at 250 and some media reports indicated the damage was minimal.

But there has been no official statement on the number of casualties.

Congress spokesperson R P N Singh on Monday counter-accused the BJP and its leaders of spreading misinformation and “false propaganda” over the air strike ahead of elections and said the people of the country would give them a fitting reply.

“It is extremely shocking and tragic that the prime minister of this country is pointing fingers at opposition parties for questioning the Army or the Air Force,” he said.

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