Questions on air strike cannot be 'anti-national'

Updated: Mar 26, 2019, 05:34 IST | mid-day correspondent

The reaction has been uniform: to question the air strikes means one is not patriotic at best and a Pak consort at worst

Questions on air strike cannot be 'anti-national'

For the past few days, there have been questions raised about the Balakot air strikes post Pulwama. One recent prominent example is Congress aide Sam Pitroda's questions about what exactly was struck during the strike. Pitroda has challenged the ruling party to a debate.

The reaction has been uniform: to question the air strikes means one is not patriotic at best and a Pak consort at worst. Perhaps the most heinous charge is that those who ask what happened during the air strikes are told they are questioning the bravery of our armed forces.

This paper's stand is that when people raise these questions, (here we refer to ordinary people, not politicians, or even Pitroda for that matter) they are not disrespecting our armed forces.

We are acutely aware that writing this edit in the confines of an air-conditioned office is very different from standing on the border fighting the enemy. Even as you read this, we are reading about Indian jawans and cops in the line of Pak fire, families are losing their loved ones. Nobody is losing sight of that or forgetting the sacrifices of our forces.

Yet to be ostracised or slammed as traitor if you raise questions, these aimed at the ruling political party, not at the soldier, is a tactic to delegitimise any debate and strangulate the spirit of inquiry. It may be convenient but it is dishonest. One is so proud of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. It takes the bravest to swallow sensitive documents when captured. We acknowledge that.

It also takes the courage borne out of honesty to answer at least some of the valid queries about the air strike. A salute to our forces and real gratitude for what they do, The BJP though cannot shame the layperson with the how-dare-you-disrespect-our-soldiers argument to brush off or shut down uncomfortable queries. In the end, the nation wants to know.

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