Agency Hyderabad: Hitting out at the Opposition and Congress in particular over questioning the air strikes inside Pakistan after Pulwama terror attack, Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the BJP government gave freedom to the armed forces to act and they delivered. Not respecting armed forces, but to bring them to shame to make them kneel down to their interests and even defame them has been the approach of the Congress party, Sitharaman alleged. “None of their (Congress) alliance partners be it from the Communists to the regional parties who are their friends today could even say please don’t make badnaam of our armed forces,” she said at an event here. “Today they shed crocodile tears for Pulwama,” she alleged. The government, Sitharaman said, had credible information that more such (Pulwama like) suicide terror attacks may happen and to prevent such attacks “we had to take a pre-emptive strike in Balakot.” Sitharaman was addressing an ex-servicemen and intellectuals meet here organised by BJP candidate N Ramchander Rao who is contesting from the Malkajgiri Lok Sabha segment. They (opposition) even had the courage to ask the government for evidence, she said. “…The brave soldiers and air warriors go there to perform the task and not to take selfies. They don’t need to come and show you (evidence). “That’s not the business of a soldier. He goes, finishes his task and gets back in safety to his country,” she said. “And one unfortunate man (Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman) who was held by Pakistan, you saw the dignity with which he stood up and the honour with which he held up his responsibility as a PoW,” she said. Varthaman was captured by Pakistan on February 27 after his MiG 21 Bison went down during a dogfight with Pakistani jets. But before his plane was hit, Varthaman shot down a F-16 of Pakistan air force. “Standing there and wouldn’t speak a word of what he should not be saying there. That’s the training of a professional Indian soldier. “Would you want to honour and respect them or would you want to demean them by calling ‘sadak ka goonda’. By asking for evidence. How many people were dead…is there a limit…ridiculous,” Sitharaman said. She said during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, 90,000 Pakistan soldiers were sent back unconditionally by India. “And after our PoW was sent back … in Pakistan that was touted as a peaceful gesture,” and demands were even made in Pakistan that Prime Minister (Imran Khan) should be given nobel prize.
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