Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said lives of jawans are much more valuable than electoral politics, but the nation has a right to know what actually happened at Balakot in Pakistan following the IAF’s air strike there.
Citing foreign media reports that not much damage was done by the Indian Air Force’s pre-emptive strike on terror camps at Balakot, she said, “The Force should be given an opportunity to come up with facts.”
“After the air strikes, we were told there were 300 deaths, 350 deaths. But I read reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post which said no human was killed. Another foreign media report said only one person was injured,” Ms Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat here.
She said, “Where the bombs were actually dropped? Was it dropped on the target?”
Government officials had said on Tuesday that in a pre-dawn strike, the IAF bombed and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp at Balakot in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, killing over 350 terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.
At a media briefing in the national capital on Thursday evening, Air Vice Marshal R. G. K. Kapoor, assistant chief of Air Staff, said it was up to the political leadership to decide when and how to release evidence of the Balakot strike’s success.
He was responding to a question on the scepticism in some quarters about whether IAF fighters had hit the intended targets. Mr Kapoor said there is credible information that “we hit the intended targets”.