We believe Air Force but will question claims made by BJP: Sachin Pilot on Balakot strike

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Updated: March 9, 2019 5:53:13 PM

Some BJP leaders including party president Amit Shah have claimed that over 250 terrorists were killed in the air strike conducted in the early hours of February 26. However, neither the government nor the Air Force has given the exact number of casualties in the strike.

Sachin Pilot, Balakot strike, Balakot strike news, Sachin Pilot air force, pulwama attack, jem camp balakot, iaf strike balakotSachin Pilot was referring to the controversy over the number of casualties in the air strike conducted at JeM camp in Balakot of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. (PTI)

Congress leader and Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot on Thursday said that the opposition believes what forces say but it will question the claims made by the leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was referring to the controversy over the number of casualties in the air strike conducted at JeM camp in Balakot of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

Speaking at the Express Adda in Mumbai, Pilot said: “What my Air Force says, I believe. What the government says, I believe. But I don’t want to believe some BJP politicians making claims on behalf of the Air Force. That is rumour mongering. This is an aspect which I will question.”

Some BJP leaders including party president Amit Shah have claimed that over 250 terrorists were killed in the air strike conducted in the early hours of February 26. However, neither the government nor the Air Force has given the exact number of casualties in the strike.

In a press statement issued immediately after the strike, Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale said: “…India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated.” The Foreign Secretary did not give any number of terrorists killed in the operation.

The Indian Air Force has also not given any number of casualties. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa recently said that the IAF can’t count how many people died. “We (Air Force) can’t count how many people have died. It depends on how many people were there,” he had said.

In light of this, some opposition leaders including senior Congress politician questioned the source of information based on which the BJP leaders were claiming massive casualties. Responding to this, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the intelligence agencies had confirmed 300 active mobile connections just before the Air Force was given the clearance to launch the strike.

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