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Congress' 'most trusted advisor' celebrates Pak national day by demeaning IAF: PM Modi slams Sam Pitroda 

File photo of PM Narendra Modi. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 22, 2019, 11.28 AM (IST)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lashed out at Sam Pitroda, the chairman of the Overseas Indian National Congress, for his comments on the Balakot airstrikes. "Opposition insults our forces time and again," PM Modi tweeted out quoting Pitroda's comment tweeted out by news agency ANI. 

"I appeal to my fellow Indians - question Opposition leaders on their statements. Tell them- 130 crore Indians will not forgive or forget the Opposition for their antics," the Prime Minister's tweet read.

"India stands firmly with our forces. #JantaMaafNahiKaregi," he added. 

"The most trusted advisor and guide of the Congress President has kick-started the Pakistan National Day celebrations on behalf of the Congress, ironically by demeaning India’s armed forces," PM Modi wrote in a separate tweet. 

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Pitroda, who is also known as a close aide of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, questioned the airstrikes carried out by the Indian Air Force at JeM camps in Balakot, Pakistan in an interview with news agency ANI.

“If they (IAF) killed 300, it's ok. All I am saying is can you give me more facts and prove it,” said Pitroda.

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“I would like to know a little more because I read reports in the New York Times and other newspapers. Did we really attack? We really killed 300 people? I don’t know that. As a citizen, I am entitled to know and if I ask it is my duty to ask, that doesn’t mean I’m not a nationalist, That doesn’t mean I am on this side or that side. We need to know the facts. If you say 300 people were killed,  I need to know that. We all need to know that, people of India need to know that and then comes global media which says nobody was killed. I look bad as an Indian citizen,” Pitroda told ANI.

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Pressed further to clarify if talks with Pakistan was an option post the Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF jawans, Pitroda said that it would be naïve to assume that if some people came here and attacked, every citizen of that nation is to be blamed. “I don’t know much about (Pulwama) attack, it happens all the time, attack happen in Mumbai Taj hotel and Oberoi hotel. We could have reacted then and sent our planes but that is not the right approach according to me that’s not how you deal with the World. Eight people come (referring to Mumbai 26/11 attacks) and do something, you don’t jump on the entire nation,” said Sam Pitroda in the interview.

When asked if he questioned the Indian Air Force’s version of the Balakot air strikes, Pitroda clarified that an attack is different from making a claim of 300 dead. “We cannot be emotional. Data has to be neutral. So you come in today and say ‘I killed 300 people’ and I say wait a minute, the World is saying we didn’t kill anybody or kill less or kill more... I don’t know,” added Pitroda.

Pitroda, who is part of the Congress’ manifesto committee for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and is considered a senior ideologue of the party, sought a dialogue with Pakistan. “I am a Gandhian, I believe in more compassion and respect. I believe in more dialogues personally. I think we should have a dialogue with everybody. Why just Pakistan? We are having a dialogue with the whole world,” Pitroda said.

(With inputs from ANI) 

 

Story highlights

Pitroda, who is also known as a close aide of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, questioned the airstrikes carried out by the Indian Air Force at JeM camps in Balakot, Pakistan in an interview with news agency ANI.