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Mamata Banerjee questions aerial strikes against JeM terror camp


ANI Politics
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked the government to spell out "details" of the exact place where the air raids were carried out and the casualties inflicted as international media has claimed that there was no damage in the strikes.
"We, as the Opposition, want to know the details of the air strike. Where were the bombs dropped? How many people died? I was reading the New York Times and Washington Post and they said that there were no casualties. Some media houses said one died. We want to know the details," Banerjee told reporters here.
She said that her party respected the armed forces and did not like politicisation of the sacrifices made by the soldiers.
"We are with the armed forces. We respect them. But, I don't like those who indulge in politics over the sacrifices made by our jawans. This is unacceptable and I condemn this," Banerjee further said.
Tensions spiralled between India and Pakistan after the Indian Air Force on February 26 carried out aerial strikes at a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror training camp in Balakot. The strikes were in response to the terror attack in Pulwama in which about 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives. JeM had claimed the responsibility of the attack.
The camp, located in a forest area atop a hill, was headed by JeM chief Masood Azhar's brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Gauri, who was involved in the 1999 hijack of Indian Airlines plane IC-814 and was on Interpol lookout notice since 2000.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the "pre-emptive" strike by India had become absolutely necessary as there was credible information that JeM was planning further attacks in the country.
On February 27, India said it foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force to carry out strikes in Jammu and Kashmir by shooting down an F-16 fighter plane while losing its own MiG-21 jet after which a pilot was "missing in action".
Pakistan later acknowledged that Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected across the Line of Control, is in its custody.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday in the country's Parliament that the IAF pilot will be released tomorrow as a "peace gesture".

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First Published: Feb 28 2019 | 8:10 PM IST

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