Balakot revived for Assembly elections

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N D Sharma
N D Sharma
is a senior journalist, and Patron of eNewsroom India.

Election process for a couple of State Assemblies has started and Pakistan and its real or presumed intention to send hordes of terrorists to India is back in news. Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat told reporters in Chennai on September 23, “Balakot has been reactivated by Pakistan. It had been damaged and destroyed and that is why people had got away from and now it has been reactivated. It shows some action had been taken by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and now they have got the people back there.” A few days earlier, a prominent Delhi-based English daily had reported that the Balakot camp was functional again and 40 jihadists being trained there to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and other places in India. The terrorists are working under the garb of a new name to avoid international scrutiny, the newspaper had added.

On the eve of the Lok Sabha elections, on February 27 to be precise, the IAF had bombed the terror camp at Balakot in Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. India had claimed that the IAF strike was in retaliation to Pakistan-trained terrorists’ attack on CRPF vehicles in Pulwama district which had resulted in death of 40-odd jawans. It was never explained by the government as to how the suicide bomber had been able penetrate the high security network to reach the CRPF vehicles, particularly as the security in the region was made more tight about that time in view of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra. Nor did the government come up with a precise number of terrorists killed in the IAF strike on the Balakot training camp. It was left to the Modi-consecrated TV channels to use their imagination – and they gave the figures from 350 to 450 terrorists killed. (Even General Rawat has, in his Chennai interaction with reporters, avoided mentioning the number of terrorists killed during the Balakot strike and has only vaguely mentioned that it had been damaged and destroyed and that was why people had “got away”).

Ram Vakeel of Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh) was one of the jawans martyred in the Pulwama terror attack. His wife Geeta Devi asked the government, through a newspaper interview, to provide proof of the terrorists killed in the IAF strike. His sister Ramraksha said the people need to know what the outcome of the IAF strike was. “How do we know that the strike occurred and the terrorists were killed”, she said. Vakeel’s mother Amitshree also demanded proof of the terrorists killed in the air strike. Earlier, Sarmishtha Devi, wife of another slain CRPF jawan Pradeep Kumar of Shamli (Uttar Pradesh), had said that they were not satisfied with the government’s claim on Balakot air strike on terrorist camps.

As the government had failed to satisfy the people on both Pulwama and Balakot incidents, suspicion had grown in public mind that the Modi coterie was itself engineering terrorist attacks with a view to making some political gains in the elections, Hari Shankar Vyas, Editor-Owner of Hindi daily Naya India and once an ardent supporter of Narendra Modi, wrote in one of his columns that NSA Ajit Doval was squarely responsible for Pulwama terrorist attack as well as for providing wrong information about Balakot target to Indian Air Force with the result that terrorists and their madarsa escaped the air attack.

Opposition leaders, who wanted to know from the government how many terrorists were killed in IAF strike at Balakot, were branded by Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah as pro-Pakistan and traitors to the Nation. Then the family members of the CRPF jawans killed in the terrorist attack in Pulwama had also become pro-Pakistan and traitors to the Nation, as per Modi-Shah duo’s definition. Ram Vakeel of Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh) was one of the jawans martyred in the Pulwama terror attack. His wife Geeta Devi asked the government, through a newspaper interview, to provide proof of the terrorists killed in the IAF strike. His sister Ramraksha said the people need to know what the outcome of the IAF strike was. “How do we know that the strike occurred and the terrorists were killed”, she said. Vakeel’s mother Amitshree also demanded proof of the terrorists killed in the air strike. Earlier, Sarmishtha Devi, wife of another slain CRPF jawan Pradeep Kumar of Shamli (Uttar Pradesh), had said that they were not satisfied with the government’s claim on Balakot air strike on terrorist camps.

Now as the ruling BJP needs Balakot again, General Rawat, who has given perhaps more public statements than all the combined public statements given by all the previous Army Chiefs, has come to the party’s aid. It is not for nothing that he is being seen by a section of media as the first Chief of Defence Staff, a post which the Modi government is planning to create.

 

Opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not of eNewsroom. This is an open forum and 
we try to give space to every school of thought.
N D Sharma
N D Sharma
is a senior journalist, and Patron of eNewsroom India.

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