Indian opposition attacks Modi over alleged political use of armed forces

  • Indian opposition parties are launching a united attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what they see as his politicization of the armed forces as he tries to ride a patriotic wave into a second term in office at a general election.
  • It is a high-risk bet that could backfire given the jingoistic fervor that has overtaken India since a suicide bomber from the Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed 40 paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Kashmir on 14 Feb 19.
  • But amid mounting doubts about the success of an Indian air strike on an alleged JeM camp in Pakistan’s northeast on 26 Feb 19, the opposition sees Modi as potentially vulnerable over both the government’s claims and its behavior.
  • “The strategy is to first keep exposing them and bringing out the fact that they are trying to appropriate the armed forces. And two, we show that this is being done purely for election purposes.”
  • O’Brien was referring to Modi speaking at a rally with the pictures of the paramilitary police killed in the bombing in the background, as well as a BJP leader in Delhi attending a public event in army fatigues.
  • Pollsters say that they expect Modi and the BJP to get a boost from India’s aggressive response to the suicide bomb attack. He is seen as decisive and resolute by voters, they say.
  • The only problem may come if the government line – that it killed a large number of Islamist militants in the attack – turns out not to be true.
  • Satellite images reviewed by Reuters indicate that the madrasa and related facilities that were targeted by the Indian air force were not destroyed, and the government has declined to provide evidence to back up its claims.
  • The images produced by Planet Labs Inc, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator, show at least six buildings on the school’s site on 4 Mar 19 – six days after the air raids. Until now, no high-resolution satellite images were publicly available.
  • The images are virtually unchanged from an Apr 18 satellite photo of the facility. There are no discernible holes in the roofs of buildings, no signs of scorching, blown-out walls, displaced trees around the school or other signs of an aerial attack.
  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the number of terrorists killed in the air strike by Indian Air Force on the training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan’s Balakot would be known soon.
  • He claimed that National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) system had informed about presence of around 300 active mobile phones at the site before the air strike by India.
  • “The NTRO, which has an authentic system, said that 300 mobile phones were active (at the Balakot site). Were these mobile phones used by the trees? Now will you (opposition) not believe the NTRO also?” Singh said.
  • In recent days, BJP leaders, and Modi himself, have slammed the opposition for demanding evidence about the success or otherwise of last week’s strike. On social media and in political rallies, the BJP has accused Congress and its partners of helping Pakistan by questioning the success of the military strike.

External Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-kashmir-politics/indian-opposition-attacks-modi-over-alleged-political-use-of-armed-forces-idUSKCN1QN0ZR

External Link: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/images-show-madrasa-buildings-standing-indian-attack-claim-190306033806638.html

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/number-of-terrorists-killed-in-balakot-strike-will-be-known-today-or-tomorrow-rajnath-singh/articleshow/68271689.cms

6-Mar-2019


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