Union Minister SS Ahluwalia on Saturday triggered a massive controversy when he said that the aim of the Indian Air Force strike in Pakistan's Balakot was to send out the message that India is capable of hitting deep inside enemy lines and did not intend to inflict "any human casualty".
In a video shared by the opposition parties, the minister was heard saying that the air strikes in Pakistan were only to deliver a warning and that neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor any of the party spokespersons had claimed that 300 people were killed. Ahluwalia said neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor any government spokesperson had given any figure on casualty of the IAF air strikes. Rather, it was the 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 Modi ji had said. After the air strike, there was a rally by Modi ji and he didn't say anything on the casualty figures. I want to ask if Modi ji, or any government spokesperson, or our party president Amit Shah has given any figures?" Mr Ahluwalia told reporters in Siliguri on Saturday.
West Bengal Congress vice-president Om Prakash Mishra shared the video on social media and said, “No terrorists killed in Pakistan by our airstrike.” The official Twitter handle of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) — @cpimspeak — also shared the video and targeted the Prime Minister.
Minister of State in Modi's cabinet, SS Ahluwalia is saying @narendramodi or @AmitShah never claimed that our #AirStrikes killed 300+ Terrorists & we didnt want any "Human Casualties". Is the Govt now backtracking from its claims that they took out a Terrorist Camp in Pakistan? pic.twitter.com/nstgsWF6sZ— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) March 2, 2019
“If what the minister says is correct, then what it means is that the Modi Govt has connived with lies pedalled by the jingoistic media & taken the country for a ride,” the CPI(M) tweeted.