December 1998 News

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Militants Continue to Get Aid from Pakistan, Says Advani

2nd December 1998
Daily Excelsior

NEW DELHI: The Centre has no proposal to grant refugee status to displaced community of Kashmiri Pandits to protect their interests until they go back to Kashmir valley.

‘‘Question does not arise", Mr L K Advani informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Home Minister said in reply to a question by Mr Vedprakash P Goyal that while the Government had no proposal to grant refugee status to Kashmiri migrants, the policy of the Government ‘‘is based on the premise that the migrants would return to their native places in the Valley once the conditions reasonably conducive for their return are created". Mr Advani informed the House during Question Hour that 29,074 registered Kashmiri migrant families are staying in various places in Jammu region and 19,338 families are registered in Delhi. According to him, there are 2,743

families living in other states in the country.

The Home Minister said that the Government had taken steps to ensure that the difficulties and hardships of the migrants, while they are outside the Valley, were minimised. Various states and Union Territories, he pointed out, were providing the needy families with a reasonable amount of sustenance and support in accordance with the norms and rules prevailing in their respective territories and as per the available resources. Mr Advani added that while cash relief at different rates as applicable in the various states and Union Territories were being provided to the migrants, special measures had been taken in Jammu and Delhi to further improve the living conditions of the migrants in the camps.

In the Lok Sabha, Mr Madhukar Sirpotdar and Mr Anant Gangaram Geete wanted to know, through their unstarred question, if the Government had considered the question of invoking UN Convention on Refugees in relation to J&K oustees (Kashmiri Hindu migrants) presently housed in refugee camps. The Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Sompal, who replied the question on behalf of his Prime Minister, explained that the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of refugees applies to refugees across international borders. He made it abundantly clear that the question of the Government considering invoking the Convention in relations to J&K refugees ‘‘does not arise as Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India". Mr Sompal informed the House that India is not a party to this Convention.

Mr Advani told the Rajya Sabha, while answering a question by Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra, that with a view to spreading communal divide in Jammu and Kashmir, people belonging to the minority community in the Valley, specifically Kashmiri Pandits, had been prime targets of Pakistan-sponsored militants since the eruption of militancy in the State. Of late, militants, he said, had started targeting innocent people mostly belonging to Hindu community in Jammu region also. Mr Advani stated that the number of incidents had decreased in the State and particularly in the Valley due to sustained pressure and concerted actions of the security forces and the State administration, while there had been ‘‘significant improvement" in the situation and the life ‘‘is moving towards normalcy".

The Home Minister, however, admitted that militants continued to get all kinds of help from Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) to sustain the violence in Jammu and Kashmir. Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra wanted to know about steps the Government proposed to take for getting Pakistan declared as terrorist state. Mr Advani's reply: ‘‘Government has consistently brought to the attention of the international community Pakistan's active involvement in the instigation and sponsorship of terrorism against India, particularly in J&K. Pakistan's role in such activities is widely acknowledged by international public opinion".

In his written reply to a question by Ms Veena Verma, Mr Advani said that with a view to tackling the militancy problem sponsored from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir, the Government had adopted a multi-pronged approach which included inter alia strengthening the border management, neutralising plans of militants by proactive action against them in hinterland, gearing up intelligence machinery, galvanising development programmes etc. The focus, according to the Home Minister, is on curbing infiltration, countering militancy in the hinterland, protection of minorities, improving of technological components of counter-insurgency operations and gadgetry and equipment for the security forces. The cost of the implementation of these measures to counter militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is estimated at Rs 560.47 crores, spread over three years.

‘‘No, it is not true that shortage of funds is hampering anti-militancy operations in J&K", Mr Advani asserted in reply to a question by Mr Kapil Sibal and Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard. Mr Advani said: ‘‘In fact, the Central Government had reimbursed and is reimbursing, as security related expenditure, quite a substantial amount to the Jammu and Kashmir Government, in its efforts to fight against the militancy, in addition to amounts being spent directly on Central paramilitary forces and Army deployment in anti-terrorist operations in J&K". On the conversion of Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir into International Border as proposed by the J&K Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mr L K Advani informed Dr D Venkateshwar Rao that the Government is aware of certain reports in the media about such statements.

Mr Advani let it be known: ‘‘The position of the Government is that the whole of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, including the area under illegal occupation of Pakistan, and portions of the State illegally ceded by Pakistan, is an integral part of India. Resolutions were passed by both Houses of Parliament in this regard on February 22, 1994 and Government remains committed to them".

On the recent attempt to blast a temple in Jammu town, the Home Minister informed Mr O Rajagopal that recoveries made from a militant killed in an incident had revealed that he had planned to blow up a temple in the Jammu area. The Government, Mr Advani said, was aware of the sinister designs of Pakistani ISI activities in different parts of the country including its efforts to target and train misguided youths for engineering violence.

Mr Advani stated that while a close and continuous watch was being kept on the situation, all necessary efforts, including sustained operations against terrorists and subversive elements, were being made to ensure that such designs were not allowed to succeed. On Afghanistan-based ‘‘terror merchant", Osama Bin Laden, Mr Advani told Mr Dharam Pal Yadav that the Government had seen media reports with regard to the entry into Kashmir of Osama's terrorists, but there were no specific inputs to suggest the entry of Osama Bin Laden along with other trained militants into Jammu and Kashmir.

In his reply to a question by Ms Saroj Khaparde, Mr Advani said that there were 733 incidents of violence by the militants directed against the security forces in J&K from May to October this year in which 134 security personnel, 567 militants and 65 civilians had been killed in cross firing. According to the Home Minister, 866 AK series rifles, 292 pistols and revolvers, 32 UMGs, 2 LMGs, 15 sniper rifles, 3 SLRs, 3303 rifles, 73 RPGs and 46 rocket launchers, along with large quantities of assorted arms, ammunition, accessories, were recovered from the militants during the period.

How many ISI plots to assassinate political leaders in India had been unearthed in 1997 and 1998? Answering this question by Prof Vijay Kumar Malhotra, Mr Advani stated that three cases involving Pakistani ISI were detected in 1997 and six during 1998 in which there were plans to assassinate Indian political leaders. Some other plans were also foiled by timely action on receipt of intelligence inputs from time to time.

The Home Minister said that security arrangements for prominent political leaders, threatened and targeted by terrorists of various hues at the behest of the ISI, had been appropriately strengthened. He added that intelligence inputs received from various sources ‘‘are shared with State Governments and concerned agencies to ensure timely and coordinated action to neutralise the activities of groups planning to target political leaders".


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