Truce fine, just go after foreign mercenaries: Farooq
21 February 2001
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: CHIEF MINISTER Farooq Abdullah has described as "right step" the third extension of unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to be formally announced in the Parliament tomorrow. But, he said, this time "no mercy needs to be shown to the foreign militant outfits killing innocent people in the name of Jehad (holy war)". Talking to The Hindustan Times soon after the endorsement of the truce extension by the CCS today, he said, "… it is a good step". He said the all-party meeting favouring the extension prior to the CCS meeting proved "this was a democratic endeavour of India as a nation". Farooq Abdullah welcomed Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's initiative in involving all the parties in this crucial decision. But, he said, " the security forces should be allowed to go after the groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Tayyeba that have been spilling the blood of innocents". On the other hand, questioning the credibility of the truce, Abu Somiya, spokesman for Harkat-ul-Mujahadeen, told this reporter the ceasefire was a "myth". "What does this ceasefire mean when the Indian Army is continuing its operations against the Mujahadeen". Asked why isn"t Harkat stopping its activities against security forces, Abu Somiya replied "We have not declared the cease fire. We don"t accept it." Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and other "jehadi" groups have already rejected the ceasefire. All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat termed the third extension as "meaningless". "It will mean nothing unless or until dialogue is initiated," he told this reporter on telephone. Bhat said that "as a matter of fact, declaration of the ceasefire and the dialogue should have gone hand in hand, but then as it were it did not take shape".