New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday hit out at Opposition leaders raising questions on the air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot, and accused Congress President Rahul Gandhi of giving patronage to such leaders in his party with his silence.
“Farooq Abdullah (National Conference) and some other leaders have again raised doubts on the air strikes by the Indian Air Force (IAF). No country in the world is asking for evidence. There is substantial and contemporaneous evidence available on the count of damage,” Prasad told reporters at a press conference here.
He said Pakistan is not permitting the international media to go to Balakot, where the strikes took place, but the Opposition leaders are not ready to believe.
“The demeaning of the sacrifice and valour of the forces is most condemnable,” he said.
Prasad’s retort came hours after National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah alleged that the “air strikes were done due to the approaching elections.”
Congress leaders Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram and Digvijaya Singh have already questioned the success of the IAF air strikes, with Singh even asking the government to release its evidence as the US did after killing Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
“The silence of Rahul Gandhi is absolutely conspicuous. You did not dissociate from the statements of Digvijaya Singh, Kapil Sibal and P. Chidambaram. Even in the press conference, you did not reply to a question on their comments. It is very clear that all this is happening at the instigation, patronage and direction of Rahul Gandhi,” Prasad said, adding that the country would give him a befitting reply.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had on February 26 bombed Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camps in Pakistan’s Balakot in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers were killed.
Responding to the Congress’ allegations of weakening institutions like the Election Commission, Prasad said, “The Congress and its associates are charging us for trying to weaken the institutions of India. Who has been abusing the Election Commission in the name of ‘faulty’ EVMs? Who has refused to accept the Supreme Court verdict in the Rafale case? Who is raising questions on the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC)?”
The Minister said it was the Congress and its associates who were doing so.