Not a game of marbles, says V.K. Singh on air strike toll figures

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Ranchi, March 5 (IANS) Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh on Tuesday hit back at the opposition parties for demanding the casualty figures in the Balakot air strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and said that it was not “a game of marbles” where exact scores can be kept.

The former Chief of Army Staff also defended Amit Shah’s claim that more than 250 terrorists were killed in the IAF action on February 26, stating that the BJP President meant that these many “might have been killed” in the air strike.

“One way is to go there, count the bodies and come back. Secondly, you can assess the information you have, arrive at a figure and give it to the people. The exact figures will be known only if you are present there. This is not a game of marbles, but a serious matter. No proof is given for the actions taken by the armed forces,” Singh told reporters here.

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Asked about Shah’s claim, Singh said the death toll given by the BJP President was an estimated figure.

“That (casualty figures) was based on the number of people who were housed in the buildings which were hit. It’s an estimate. He didn’t say this is a confirmed figure, he just said this many might have died,” Singh said, adding that the IAF operation in itself was a big thing and has sent a message across the globe that India can go to any extent in its fight against terrorism.

On Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s claim that the Pulwama terror attack was an “accident,” Singh said: “With due respect, I would like to ask Digvijaya Singh if Rajiv Gandhi’s killing was a terrorist act or an accident.”

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“Don’t weaken the nation and the morale of our armed forces with these senseless jibes,” he added.

–IANS

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