Rajasthan minister Pratap Khachariyawas has hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party over its allegations that late Congress leader Rajesh Pilot had bombed the Mizoram while flying for the Indian Air Force on March 5, 1966. Claiming that BJP leaders have no knowledge, Khachariyawas demanded the party’s IT cell head Amit Malviya’s apology.
On August 13, Malviya had claimed that Congress leaders Rajesh Pilot and Suresh Kalmadi were flying the IAF fighter.
“Rajesh Pilot and Suresh Kalmadi were flying the Indian Air Force planes that bombed Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, on 5 March 1966. Later both became MPs on Congress tickets and ministers in the government. It is clear that Indira Gandhi gave a place in politics as a reward, and gave respect to those who carried out air raids on their own people in the Northeast,” Amit Malviya wrote on X (formally Twitter).
Reacting strongly to Malviya’s claim, Khachariyawas, who is considered a loyalist to Rajesh Pilot’s son and Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot, said, “BJP leaders do not have knowledge, so they tweet without any information. Amit Malviya’s tweet regarding the late Rajesh Pilot is a sin. He along with the national leadership of BJP should apologise to the public and the Indian army as it is also an insult to them.”
“Rajesh Pilot was a brave pilot and is respected all over the country. It is also an insult to the entire country and an insult to the officers of the army. BJP leaders have become generators of lies and are spreading lies all over the country,” the Rajasthan minister added.
Rejecting Malviya’s allegations, Sachin Pilot said the BJP leader quoted wrong dates and facts on this incident, adding that his father was not commissioned into the Indian Air Force on March 5, 1966.
“You have the wrong dates, wrong facts. Yes, as an Indian Air Force pilot, my late father did drop bombs. But that was on erstwhile East Pakistan during the 1971 Indo-Pak war and not as you claim, on Mizoram on the 5th of March 1966. He was commissioned into the IAF only on 29th October 1966! (Certificate attached) Jai hind and a happy Independence Day,” he wrote on X.
On Wednesday, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot came out in support of his former deputy Sachin Pilot and said the BJP insulted the sacrifice of the IAF.
“Congress leader Rajesh Pilot was a brave pilot of the Indian Air Force. By insulting them, the BJP is insulting the sacrifice of the Indian Air Force. The whole country should condemn this,” Gehlot said.
Malviya’s tweet came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his reply to the Opposition’s motion of no-confidence in the Lok Sabha, recently said the Congress government, under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, used air assets to bomb Mizoram in 1966.
“On March 5, 1966, Congress had the Air Force attack helpless citizens in Mizoram. The Congress should answer if it was India’s air force or any other country’s. Were those people of Mizoram not the citizens of my country? Was their security not the responsibility of the Union government?” Modi said.