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SRINAGAR: Congress leader and former J&K chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad sparked a controversy when he said Army operations in the state killed more civilians than Militants, eliciting a strong response from BJP, which accused Congress of trying to demoralise the armed forces. In a TV interview, Azad also said BJP’s language of “all out operations” in J&K indicated that a “massacre” was being planned. BJP said the comments were unfair to Army personnel who put their lives on the line to protect civilians.

“They (forces) take action against four militants and kill 20 civilians. Their action is more against civilians than Militants. For instance, they killed 13 civilians in Pulwama and just one terrorist,” Azad said in the interview. “Rahul Gandhi should take action against leaders like Azad, who are making baseless allegations against the Army without any facts. They (Congress) leaders should target BJP but refrain from making adverse comments against the armed forces,” Rajya Sabha MP and BJP national media chief Anil Baluni said. “Congress leaders made light comments about the Army chief and are repeatedly raising questions about the armed forces. It is sad that a senior leader like Azad has made such a comment on which Congress party should clarify its stand,” Baluni said. Since BJP pulled out of its alliance with PDP on Tuesday, bringing down the coalition government in J&K, there is increased talk that under governor’s rule, stress would be on security operations.