“Were you uprooting terrorists or trees? Was it an election gimmick?” Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, a former BJP leader who joined the Congress, said.
- Deceit possesses our land in guise of fighting foreign foes: Navjot Sidhu
- Skimmed milk masquerades as cream, things seldom as they seem: Sidhu
- Opposition leaders have attacked govt over unofficial death tolls doing rounds
Navjot Singh Sidhu asked on Tuesday if India’s counter-terrorism operation in Pakistan had indeed killed hundreds, joining a growing chorus of skepticism in opposition ranks.
“Deceit possesses our land in [the] guise of fighting a foreign enemy,” the Punjab minister, who left the BJP to join the Congress, tweeted.
“Were you uprooting terrorists or trees? Was it an election gimmick?” he asked.
In another tweet, he wrote: “Skimmed milk masquerades as cream, things are seldom as they seem.”
Later on Monday, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa said India’s warplanes had struck their intended target, and that the force was not in a position to provide clarity on the number of casualties.
He said the Air Force did not count human casualties, but targets hit or missed.
Several opposition politicians have now attacked the BJP over numbers of casualties that have been doing the rounds — numbers that were announced neither by the ministry of external affairs (which announced the airstrike) nor by the Air Force.
Some have asked for operational details or proof of the strike.
Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal asked on Monday (before the Air Force chief’s news conference) if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “politicising terror”, citing foreign news reportssaying India’s airstrikes had not killed terrorists in Pakistan.
Also on Monday, another former UPA-era minister, Manish Tewari, criticised BJP chief Amit Shah for saying more than 250 terrorists were killed — while the Air Force had said it was early to assess casualties.
“Is this not milking airstrikes for politics?” Manish Tewari asked.