Two days after BJP chief Amit Shah claimed that “more than 250 terrorists were killed” in the Balakot air strikes, BSP president Mayawati questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the issue.
“BJP chief Amit Shah is arduously making claims that IAF strike had killed over 250 terrorists in Pakistan but why is his guru PM Modi who is always keen to take credit for everything is silent over it? Terrorists killed is good news, but what is the secret behind deep silence of PM over it?,” Mayawati posted on Twitter.
The Opposition has been cornering the ruling BJP government for “politicising” the air strikes. Leaders, including West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, have raised questions over the government’s claims of death toll after the international media reports suggested that hardly anybody was killed in the airstrike by the IAF.
While the government hasn’t yet provided details on the number of casualties in the strike, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa Monday said the “Air Force is not in a position to clarify how many people were inside (the target). We don’t count human casualties. We count what targets have been hit, or not hit”. “The bomb damage assessment that is done post-mission calculates the number of targets that you have been able to hit, or not been able to hit. We can’t count how many people have died. That depends on how many people were there,” he added.
BJP member, General VK Singh, meanwhile defended Shah, saying that his remark was an “estimate.” “That (casualty figure) was based on people who were housed in the buildings which were hit, it’s an estimate. He is not saying this is a confirmed figure, he is saying this many might have died,” Singh told.