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LoC killings: MoD statement changed at the behest of the PMO, say sources


Surya Gangadharan,CNN-IBN
Aug 08, 2013 at 12:09am IST

New Delhi: The controversy over Defence Minister AK Antony's statement on the LoC killings continued on Wednesday with sources telling CNN-IBN that the changes in the press releases could have been made at the behest of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The PMO could have been consulted twice over the issue, sources said while adding that the changes could have been made in the press releases to ensure that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with his Pakistani counterpart in September goes off smoothly.

ALSO SEE LoC killings: PMO says statement not changed at its behest

Sources also said that the government is likely to issue a clarification on the controversy on Thursday.

The PMO, however, rubbished the report as "mischievous" saying the statement was not changed at its behest. "Such allegations being made are mischievous and have no basis," a PMO spokesman said.

ALSO SEE LoC killings: BJP guns for Antony over his statement, paralyses Parliament

Gunning for Antony, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday escalated the stand-off over his statement on the killing of five soldiers on the LoC and paralysed Parliament, demanding his apology for giving a "clean chit" to Pakistan Army.

Antony, who maintained that he had to be "very careful" when he makes a statement in Parliament, was forced to give an assurance that he will come back to the House after Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh concludes his visit to Jammu.

ALSO SEE LoC killings: Defence Ministry blames Pak Army and then backtracks

NDA Parliamentary Party chief LK Advani, who demanded an apology from Antony, led a party delegation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and made it clear that they will not relent on their position when Parliament meets on Thursday.

The BJP leaders, who included party chief Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, also told the Prime Minister that he should not meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York in September in the current situation.

ALSO SEE BJP slams Antony for contradictory statements

Antony has been under fire since Tuesday after in a major flip-flop by the Centre and the Defence Ministry, the attackers who ambushed Indian soldiers at the Line of Control in Poonch became "20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniforms" from an earlier statement that the Army patrol was targeted by "20 heavily armed terrorists along with soldiers of Pak Army".

The Defence Ministry on Tuesday had withdrawn the first press release on the attack which blamed the Pakistani Army for the attack just hours after Antony made a statement in Parliament that the attackers were dressed in Pakistani Army uniform.

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