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Have proof of surgical strikes along LoC, but will not release it: Centre

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and a section of Congress leaders have been calling for evidence, couching it as a must to debunk “Pakistan propaganda” that the raid was nothing but cross-border fighting.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2016 00:54 IST
DK Singh and Shishir Gupta
DK Singh and Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
LoC,Surgical strikes,PoK
Indian army soldiers patrol near the Line of Control in Pallanwal sector, about 70 km from Jammu on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. (PTI)

The army has handed over video evidenceof its September 29 surgical strikes on terrorist launchpads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir but the government doesn’t see the need to make them public, two senior ministers said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked his ministers not to indulge in chest-thumping over the raid, sources said, adding the army, too, is not in favour of making public the details of the sensitive operation.

Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu rejected the opposition’s demand for proof of the strikes, saying any further discussions would be an “insult” to the army. “There is no need to respond to such irresponsible comments and demands. Fortunately, the Congress has also realised its mistake and distanced itself from the comments of its leaders,” Naidu told mediapersons a day after he said that the proof would be presented at an appropriate time.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has also concurred with the army. Parrikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were shown unedited footage of the September 29 operation on October 1, followed by a presentation of an edited version the next day by the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).

After seeing the visuals, Parrikar conveyed to the Prime Minister that he was satisfied and felt there was no need to release the footage.

Read | Cong dissociates itself from Nirupam’s remarks, asks govt to call Pak’s bluff

Hindustan Times had reported on October 3 that Modi had on September 23 — five days after an army camp in Uri was attacked by militants that India says were based out of Pakistan — first told Parrikar and Doval of his decision to strike across the LoC.

“The opposition should understand the difference between a covert and overt strike. And it is not incumbent on the Indian army to release video footage every time they do their duty,” a senior official said on conditions of anonymity.

South Block sources said there was no need to rub Pakistan’s nose in the dirt after the successful surgical strike.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and a section of Congress leaders have been calling for evidence, couching it as a must to debunk “Pakistan propaganda” that the raid was nothing but cross-border fighting.

Read | AAP defends Kejriwal over LoC ‘surgical strike’ remarks, takes on BJP

The Congress repeated its demand on Wednesday but tempered it by saying the government should provide proof only after considering national security. Saying it had unequivocally supported the armed forces and the government on the cross-LoC action, the Congress said it was time to “expose the malicious lies and false propaganda” of Pakistan.

Several ministers had taken on the opposition for “questioning” army’s courage in demanding evidence for the raid. “I don’t think any Indian citizen has got any doubt… It would be an insult to the army if we further discuss,” Naidu said. “Only Pakistan is saying something because they have to say something. They are not in a position to conduct funeral or last rites of their own citizens...This is their culture.”

Read | Row over surgical strikes deepen as govt, Oppn bicker about ‘evidence’

Sources in the army said the force was not in favour of releasing the evidence though the final decision lay with the government. The army would like to keep under wraps the tactics of its special forces.

The army, they said, was proud of its apolitical and secular credentials and didn’t want to be dragged into political wrangling.

Read | Why the opposition is wrong in demanding proof of surgical strikes

First Published: Oct 06, 2016 00:54 IST