Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Tuesday countered the assertions put forth by Amit Malviya, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell. Malviya had taken to the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) and shared a video clip from a news channel that implied Sachin Pilot's late father, Rajesh Pilot, along with Suresh Kalmadi, were involved in flying Indian Air Force (IAF) planes during the airstrike on Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram, on March 5, 1966. Sachin Pilot refuted Malviya's claims, highlighting inaccuracies in both the dates and the details presented.
Malviya's shared video clip had indicated that both Rajesh and Suresh eventually assumed roles as Members of Parliament and ministers within the Congress party. Through his post, Malviya had suggested that the late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, had rewarded those who had participated in air raids against their own constituents in the North East with political positions.
“It is clear that Indira Gandhi gave a place in politics as a reward, gave respect to those who carried out air raids on their own people in the North East,” Malviya said in caption of his video.
In reply, Sachin Pilot clarified that his father did engage in bomb deployments, albeit not in Aizawl as asserted by Malviya.
“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!” Pilot clarified.
In his response, he also appended an image of the appointment certificate, bearing the signature of then-President VV Giri, which confirmed Rajesh Pilot's enlistment in the IAF in 1966.
Notably, this recent incident draws parallels with a parliamentary discourse where the Congress defended former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assertion that she had utilized the IAF to launch airstrikes on Mizoram. In a previous instance, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh had upheld Indira Gandhi's decision in March 1966 to counter secessionist elements in Mizoram, which had garnered support from Pakistan and China. Ramesh characterized PM Modi's criticism as "pitiful" and underscored Indira's role in initiating negotiations that eventually led to a Peace Accord in 1986, effectively resolving the situation in Mizoram.