Union minister says purpose of IAF strikes in Pakistan wasn’t to cause casualties, slams media for 'unconfirmed' information

Kolkata: Amid the Opposition's demand for proof on the Centre's claims of terror camp strikes in Pakistan, Union Minister SS Ahluwalia has said the purpose of the strike was not to cause casualties but to send out the message that India is capable of hitting deep inside enemy lines.

 Union minister says purpose of IAF strikes in Pakistan wasn’t to cause casualties, slams media for unconfirmed information

Pakistan claimed payload of IAF aircraft fell in open areas. Twitter/Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor

Ahluwalia said neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor any government spokesperson had given any figure on casualty of air strikes. Rather, it was the Indian media and social media where the unconfirmed figures of terrorist killed were being circulated, he said.

"I have seen reports in Indian media and international media and also what Modiji had said. After the air strike, there was a rally by Modiji and he didn't say anything on the casualty figures. I want to ask whether Modiji, or any government spokesperson, or our party president Amit Shah has given any figures?" he asked reporters in Siliguri on Saturday.

The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology said the intention of the strike was to send out a message that India is capable of destruction in Pakistan's own backyard if needed. We didn't want any casualties, he said.

The video of Ahluwalia's comments was posted by the CPM on its Twitter handle with a question: "Is the Govt now backtracking from its claims that they took out a Terrorist Camp in Pakistan? (sic)" When contacted, Ahluwalia reiterated that neither the government officials nor any minister has given out a figure of the casualties.

"I was asked whether I stand by the government's statement or by the reports of Indian media which have said 300-350 terrorists were killed. I stand by the government's statement. How can I vouch for media reports?" he told PTI. The Darjeeling BJP MP's comments come soon after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the Modi government over the air strike.

Banerjee on Thursday demanded evidence of the pre-emptive strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed training camps by the Indian Air Force. She also said the opposition parties want to know the details of the operation.

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Updated Date: Mar 04, 2019 14:36:11 IST