Today, the final slap on the faces of those questioning the Balakot airstrike has been delivered. Pictures proving that a precision strike took place are now in public domain, a crucial piece of evidence adding to other pieces of evidence which have embarrassed India’s detractors ever since they began questioning the airstrikes. However, the question that remains unanswered is how many people India killed during those airstrikes.
Ever since the Indian Air Force told the media that they do not count the casualties, the media has been up in arms. The media has badgered the BJP, after the BJP president Amit Shah reportedly said that the airstrikes had killed 250 people, and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra reportedly said that the airstrikes had killed 400 people. The media has questioned BJP leaders on every forum, asking them how they came up with these figures since the Air Force itself clarified that it did not count the casualties.
However, for a change, it is the media that needs to answer some important questions first. This entire circus about the number of casualties in the airstrike is the media’s own creation, and the attack on the BJP is a desperate attempt to be too clever by half. Here are four questions that the media needs to answer.
- Did the media really think that after bombing the terror camps at Balakot, the Air Force would wait there and count the number of casualties? Wasn’t it obvious to begin with that we would have to satisfy ourselves with a rough estimate, considering India would not be in a position to give the exact number and Pakistan would dispute any figure that anyone in India came up with?
- Who came up with the 250 to 400 estimate to begin with? As we all know, it was the journalists and the experts who came up with these figures within hours of the airstrike. They took several factors into consideration, and most of them came up with an estimate in this range. Isn’t it completely hypocritical to have come up with these estimates yourselves within hours, and then to have questioned those who used the very same estimates that you came up with a few days later?
- If the numbers that the politicians used cannot be taken seriously since the Indian Air Force said that they didn’t count the casualties, how could the numbers that journalists and experts came up with be taken seriously? As we know, even those numbers have not been corroborated by the Indian Air Force!
- Why is the media now backing out, and almost disowning the estimates that their own experts and journalists came up with? These men and women are no greenhorns. They must have known that the number of casualties would always be an estimate, now and forever. Can the media, which is disowning its own figures, tell us why it is doing so? Has it found a mistake somewhere? The 250 to 400 estimate was based on various factors: India’s payload, India’s precision strike capability, the information about the particular Jaish E Mohammad camp and how many people it could house, and an important piece of intelligence claiming that terrorists had been moved to this facility after the Pulwama attack. Moreover, another piece of information is also in the public domain now- Indian Intelligence’s surveillance revealed that 300 mobile phones were active in the camp right before the airstrike. All this information indicates that the 250 to 400 figure seemed accurate then, and seems accurate now. What has changed?
Nothing has changed. The factors they took into account remain the same, the estimates their experts came up with seem credible, and the fact that we will have to use estimates now and forever is obvious. Unfortunately, the media’s hypocrisy hasn’t changed either. One standard for everyone, another for the BJP, is something they continue to maintain even now.