September 1999 News

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Delhi directs States to knock out Osama's agents

21 September 1999
Daily Excelsior

NEW DELHI: The Union Home Ministry has put on alert the police and other security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in other States, after the United States apprised the Government of India of certain features of the "new" plan formulated by the infamous "terror merchant", Osama bin Laden, against India along with America.

The Home Ministry’s message to Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is the chairperson of the Unified Headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir, highlighted the need for "immediate" steps to step up vigilance throughout the State, particularly in communally sensitive areas, to ensure better coordination among all intelligence agencies and to closely monitor activities of all militant outfits and secessionist leaders.

Other States, too, have also been instructed by the Government of India to ensure that Islamic terrorism was put down and appropriate steps taken to foil the proposed gameplan of the Afghanistan-based Osama bin Laden and his supporters in Pakistan to destabilise the situation in India. These instructions, officials maintained, became a necessity after classified intelligence inputs let it be known that Osama’s call for a jehad against India and the United States was widely publicised with the sudden movement of Islamic "warriors" close to Indian borders in the second week of this month.

Osama Bin Laden, these officials pointed out, declared jehad against India and the USA even as India and the United States got down to talks on cooperation to combat international terrorism. Osama’s jehad call also contained a threat to disrupt elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Home Minister, Mr LK Advani, said.

Reiterating that the fugitive terrorist’s threat to promote religious terrorism in India would be "crushed", Mr Advani said in an interview that terrorist organisations and their foreign patrons would not be permitted to create disruption and turmoil anywhere in India. "We will crush disruptionists and subversives with the same firmness as the country drove back Pakistani aggressors from Kargil", Mr Advani asserted.

Mr Advani said in reply to a question that Osama bin Laden’s call for a jehad against India came in the wake of stepped-up attacks by ISI-backed terrorist outfits on Indian security forces and citizens in Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan’s humiliating defeat in Kargil. Osama’s threat also came close on the heels of the arrest of eight ISI agents in the country, three of them from the Chandipur missile testing range in Orissa.

Mr Advani’s obvious reference was to his party, BJP, when he observed: "India must have a strong and uncompromisingly nationalistic Government at the Centre to effectively foil the menace of terrorism and separatism". Both Mr Advani and Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, have favoured taking up the Osama issue in a big way in the ongoing election campaign.

Mr Advani said that while no corner of the world seemed to be safe from what he termed as the "murderous eyes of bigoted extremists", the recent string of explosions in Moscow called for will and resources to defeat "this new menace to humanity".

In a swift turn of events, the BJP leaders, who had found themselves shooting in the foot after the Congress started asking embarrassing questions to Prime Minister on the genesis of Kargil crisis, have chalked out a programme to highlight Osama bin Laden’s threat to India. Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee has been "requested" by his party leadership to make clear in his public meetings from now on that only BJP can provide a Government that can face the threat posed by Osama and his likes.

Mr Advani, in fact, has set the tone by vehemently arguing that Osama bin Laden’s threat "is yet another instance of religious terrorism" and an attempt to disturb the democratic process in India as also communal peace in the country. Mr Advani pointed out that the Government had evidence, clearly suggesting the support to the Afghanistan-based fugitive terrorist by more than one country.


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