JeM madrasa students in Balakot were taken to another location and kept there for two-three days after the IAF strike on February 26
Within hours of Indian Air Force (IAF)’s air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) madrasa in Balakot on February 26, soldiers of the Pakistani Army evacuated students from the area and kept them at a safe house for some days before sending them back to their homes, The Indian Express has reported.
The report quotes a relative of a madrasa student as saying that Pakistani Army soldiers were providing security to the facility for a week before the strike took place.
According to the report, the student narrated to his relatives that he and others who were sleeping in the same room were woken up by a 'massive explosion' in the wee hours of February 26.
“The sound was not far away, it was quite close,” the relative told the newspaper, recalling the student’s account.
However, they went back to sleep after hearing nothing again. “They thought unka veham hoga (it must have been their imagination). Or perhaps it was an earthquake tremor. They heard nothing more and went back to bed,” the report quotes the relative as saying.
Later, when they woke up, soldiers asked them to leave the place. They were taken to another location and kept there for two-three days, the relative said.
“He said there were quite a lot of people at the madrasa but not all of them went to the safe house. It was him and some others of the same age group. He does not know what happened to the others or where the explosion took place,” the relative added.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
Contradictory reports have been emerging about the impact of the air strike on the JeM camp. Authorities have so far not put out the number of casualties caused by the strike.
On March 4, Indian Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa declined to comment on the death toll in the air strike, saying it was for the government to provide details on the number of terrorists killed and the IAF only sees if a target has been hit or not.
The statement came a day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Amit Shah claimed that that more than 250 terrorists were killed in the air strike.
Opposition parties have been repeatedly seeking proof of the air strike and the casualties inflicted there after Pakistan claimed that only a few trees were destroyed in the attack.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on February 28 said that lives of jawans are much more valuable than electoral politics, but the nation has a right to know what actually happened at Balakot following the IAF's air strike there.
The Congress too asked the government what was the basis of Shah's claim was and why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not providing details of the casualties.