President of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Amit Shah, on Sunday claimed over 250 terrorists were killed in the Indian Air Force airstrike in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26. The government and the Indian Air Force are however, yet to give an official count of the terrorists killed in the attack. Speaking at an election rally in Gujarat's Ahmedabad, Shah said the government carried out an air strike in Pakistan and killed more than 250 terrorists.
"Our forces had entered into Pakistan, carried out surgical strikes and avenged the death of our soldiers post the Uri attack," Shah said.
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"The government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out an airstrike on the 13th day of the Pulwama terror attack and killed more than 250 terrorists in the action," he said at the public meeting.
According to news agency ANI, Amit Shah, at another event in Surat said, "Earlier our jawans used to be beheaded and insulted but today, situation is such that when our jawan fell in Pakistan while shooting down an F-16, within 24 hours he was back. This change is because of Narendra Modi's will power."
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Meanwhile, questions were raised by the Opposition, that also demanded a proof of the airstrike and on claims on the number of terrorists killed.
Former Congress minister Kapil Sibal on Monday pointed to foreign media reports that said there was no proof that terrorists were killed in Balakot and asked if the prime minister was guilty of "politicising terror."
"The prime minister must speak on reports by the international media that say hardly anyone died there (in airstrike in Balakot). I want to ask PM, ‘Is international media in support of Pakistan?’ When international media speaks against Pakistan, you feel elated. When they ask questions, they are asking because it supports Pakistan?" Sibal asked.
Congress Spokesperson Manish Tewari also accused Amit Shah on Monday of using India's airstrikes on Jaish-e-Mohammed for political gains, pointing to the BJP president's claim that more that 250 terrorists were killed in the operation.
"AVM RGK Kapoor said "it would be premature to say that what is the number of casualties that we have been able to inflict on those camps and what is the number of deaths," BUT Amit Shah says over 250 Terrorists killed in airstrike. Is this not milking Air Strikes for Politics????", he tweeted.
AVM RGK Kapoor said "it would be premature to say that what is the number of casualties that we have been able to inflict on those camps and what is the number of deaths," BUT @AmitShah says over 250 Terrorists killed in airstrike. Is this not milking Air Strikes for Politics????— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) March 4, 2019
Accusing the central government of indulging in Opposition-bashing, Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also took to Twitter and said, "As a proud citizen I am prepared to believe my government. But if we want the world to believe, government must make the effort, not indulge in Opposition-bashing."
एक गौरवशाली नागरिक के तौर पर मैं अपनी सरकार पर भरोसा करने के लिए तैयार हूं। लेकिन, अगर हम ये चाहते हैं कि दुनिया को भी भरोसा हो, तो सरकार को विपक्ष को कोसने की बजाय इसके लिए प्रयास करना चाहिए।— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) March 4, 2019
Amit Shah on Sunday had alleged the opposition parties 'raised doubts' on the courage of the armed forces and their demand for proof of the IAF air strike brought a "smile on Pakistan's face".
These parties should "keep quiet" if they were unable to appreciate what Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country's armed forces had achieved through the air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot, he had said.