Surgical strikes:Army hands over clips to govt,debate over its release

New Delhi: The Army has handed over to the government video clips of the cross-LoC surgical strikes as per laid down procedure, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir said today, amid a growing chorus that evidence of the operation on terror launch pads in PoK be made public.

Ahir, the Minister of State for Home, said there is a process for putting such issues in perspective which was duly followed by the Army as well as the government.

Separately, Kiren Rijiju, also a MoS for Home, said everyone should have faith in the government and allow the Army to take its own call.

“The laid down procedure has been followed. The DGMO briefed (about the surgical strikes). It was not the Defence Minister nor the Prime Minister and not the Home Minister. It was the DGMO who briefed (the media). That was the right thing to do and they (Army) did it.

“There was a time when written documents were submitted. Now the times have changed. Now clips are given and the clips have been given,” Ahir told reporters.

The statements by Ahir and Rijiju came amid demands that government release the footage of Army’s recent surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“Have faith in the government and leave it to the Army,” Rijiju told reporters here when asked about the demand for release of proof of the surgical strikes by the Army.

A political slugfest erupted yesterday over the surgical strikes with Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam calling it “fake”, provoking stinging criticism from BJP even as his own party said it “totally dissociates” from his remarks.

As the government mulled options on the issue of release of the video footage of the surgical strikes, a debate raged with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy favouring putting out an edited version of the video on the operation while most experts spoke against it.

Rejecting the demand, the BJP attacked some Congress leaders and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal for raising questions over the strikes and accused them of giving a handle to Pakistan to advance its false propaganda.

The Congress, on its part, insisted that it never questioned the authenticity of the strikes but steered clear of the demand, including from within its own ranks, for the release of evidence, saying it would give appropriate advise in the best interest of national security if consulted by the government.

Swamy, a Rajya Sabha member, said anybody questioning the operation should prove prima facie evidence to support his allegation but added that an video should be released following a newspaper report today that gave details of the operation.

“I think they should edit the video of the logistics value of it and show the other part, showing explosions, the dead body… they have got in the video. So all these parts can be released,” he said.

Former army chief Gen V P Malik slammed those questioning the credibility of the strikes saying, “The video should not be released just because some stupid people have sought so.”

He told PTI it was “utter nonsense” that people are asking the army to prove the operation and wondered what is wrong with the political class.