June 1998 News

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Pakistan Sponsored Terrorism must be Crushed: Advani

23rd June 1998
The Hindu

PREMNAGAR (Doda district), The Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani today gave a categorical assurance to the people of Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan sponsored terrorist activities in the State and in other parts of the country would no longer be tolerated. He said "this Pakistan sponsored terrorism will have to be crushed at all costs".

Mr. Advani was addressing a condolence meeting organised by residents of Premnagar village whose 26 members of two marriage parties were massacred by a group of Pakistan-trained militants belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit on June 19, in the nearby Champari village. They were gunned down when they were returning home after attending the marriage functions in Bhagwa village in the district.

Paying homage to the slain villagers, Mr. Advani said, "we are not going to tolerate the continued massacre of innocent people by these Pakistan-trained militants and foreign mercenaries in any part of our country particularly in Jammu and Kashmir". He said the Government of India had already demanded that Islamabad "call back" its anti-India activists "to stop the killings of innocent people in our country of which Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inseparable part".

The Home Minister said that so far the Central Government's policy towards such incidents encouraged by Pakistan in the State had been essentially reactive. But now the Vajpayee Government had decided that "further misadventures of these Pakistan- trained terrorists on Indian territory would be dealt with in a pro-active manner".

Mr. Advani also asserted that, "we shall quell the proxy war launched by Pakistan and its agencies against the nation during the past few years". "We are morally bound to provide adequate security cover to all Indians and cannot tolerate massacre of innocent people."

He assured the people that all necessary steps would be taken immediately to crush militancy with a heavy hand. The lives of common people in the state had become miserable, he added.

Mr. Advani who was accompanied by the Union Home Secretary, Mr. B. P. Singh, the Special Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. M. B. Kaushal, his private secretary and two MPs representing the Jammu region, Mr. Vaid Vishnu Dutt and Prof. Chaman Lal Gupta, earlier visited the site of the June 19 massacre.

The local people told Mr. Advani how the men in the two marriage parties were separated from the women, lined up and ruthlessly gunned down. The militants also looted ornaments and cash from the women.

Mr. Advani alongwith a team of officers of the Union Home Ministry initially landed at Jammu airport from New Delhi before leaving for Doda.

According to the spokesman of a BJP delegation which met the Union Home Minister at the airport, the delegation apprised Mr. Advani about the deteriorating law and order situation in the State particularly in the three districts of the Jammu region where not a day passed without reports of innocent people being killed by militants.

The BJP team also urged Mr. Advani to declare Doda district as a "disturbed area".

Later, Mr. Advani and his entourage flew in a special helicopter to Doda district.

The Union Home Minister, accompanied by Union Home Secretary, later arrived in Srinagar to chair a high-level meeting convened to discuss matters relating to security and development in the State.

Besides the Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, the meeting is likely to be attended by Union Ministers, Mr. George Fernandes, Mr. Nitish Kumar, Mr. Madan Lal Khurana, Mr. P. Kumaramangalam and senior officials of the Central and State Governments.


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