While Prime Minister Narendra Modi went bragging about the Balakot bombing by the Indian Air Force as a muscular response to the Pulwama massacre, he kept under wrap a very tragic incident — of our own surface-to-air missile downing an IAF Mi-17 helicopter on February 27. Such an incident, euphemistically called a “friendly fire”, killed seven IAF personnel and a civilian and yet there was not a word of remorse from the PM during his campaign. It is obvious that admission of the incident would have embarrassed his government. Both the PM as well as the defence minister need to explain their silence on the issue. Unfortunately, the IAF top brass seemed to acquiesce. While a detailed inquiry report is pending, prima facie, this is not just a case of professional incompetence and gross criminal negligence, but also of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. I hope justice is done and steps taken to prevent recurrence of such “friendly fire”.
S K Choudhury Bengaluru
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