‘130 crore Indians are my proof’: PM Modi slams critics of air strikes

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lashed out at those seeking clarity on the damage and casualties inflicted by Indian air strikes on a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. Saying that such people were “appeasing Pakistan”, PM Modi said Islamabad itself had first tweeted about the air strikes and his government did not seek any credit for it. The Indian Air Force strikes followed the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama last month that left 40 Indian soldiers dead.

“Is Pakistan stupid to do this (tweet)? The 130 crore people of India are my proof. Please stop appeasing Pakistan,” he told a rally in Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of Delhi.Besides opposition parties, family members of two Central Reserve Police Force troopers killed in Pulwama, too have made the kind of calls that the Prime Minister denounced.

“Like in our case (Pulwama) we saw someone’s hands, someone’s limbs, we need to see something from the other side. Someone took responsibility for the bomb attack almost immediately. I am sure the strikes have happened but where have they done it? There should be clear proof. Until there is proof, how can we accept it? Pakistan says there is no damage to them so how can we accept it unless there is proof,” Ram Raksha, the sister of Ram Vakeel, a soldier from Uttar Pradesh, said this week.

In the state’s Shamli, the mother of another soldier Pradeep Kumar also echoed the call for proof. “We saw no one dead. There are no dead bodies on the other side. In fact, there was no confirmed news. We need to see this on TV,” Sulelata, in her 80s, said.

Most opposition leaders have refrained from openly making such calls but many, including BJP allies, have urged the government to do more to counter international media reports contesting India’s claims.

But the Prime Minister today dodged those questions and said he was voted to power since the previous government had “done nothing” after the Mumbai terror attack in 2008.

“When terrorists killed our 40 soldiers in Pulwama, should Modi also have kept quiet? If I had to behave the way previous governments did, why did the people elect me?” he said.

Last month, days after the Pulwama attack, India sent its warplanes to strike a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. Pakistan responded by sending fighter jets across the Line of Control to target Indian military installations in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in the first aerial encounter between the two countries in nearly 50 years.

(With inputs from PTI)