February 2001 News

Advani clarifies Govt stands on "ceasefire" in J&K

27 February 2001
The Pioneer

New Delhi: Union Home Minister L K Advani told Lok Sabha that there was no ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir as there was no response to the non-initiation of combat operations from the other side. Responding to members" queries during question hour, Mr Advani said, "the Prime Minister never used this word - ceasefire. Not even the first time when peace process took off just before Ramzan." The Home Minister's stand infuriated Opposition members who wondered why the ceasefire word was allowed to be in circulation for so long if it didn"t exist at all. Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav took strong objection to Mr Advani's views, accusing the Government of misleading the nation. Mr Yadav said that even at the all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister, "ceasefire" was discussed at length and all the Opposition parties supported the extension of what was called "ceasefire." Mr Yadav also accused the Government of being soft on militant outfits. Mr Advani explained that the Prime Minister only asked for "non-initiation of combat operations in the State. But if the militants attacked the security forces or the citizens, the security forces were instructed to strike back. The killing of 184 militants during this period proves that there is no ceasefire." Mr Advani said that ceasefire meant an agreement with the other side. But that is not the case here and the peace initiative was unilateral. He said that in the wake of this action by the Government, Pakistan which has been aiding and abetting terrorism in the State has been isolated internationally and that international opinion too has been building up against that country to stop this action. "The peace initiatives by the Government has isolated terrorists and our neighbour is under a pincer pressure to stop aiding and abetting terrorists", Mr Advani said. When Congress members drew Mr Advani's attention to reports suggesting that he had said that Pakistan would not mend its ways in response to gestures like ceasefire, he clarified that he ad only said that Pakistan's response was inadequate. "We expected Pakistan to rein in outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba, which it didn"t do," he added. The discussion started when Mr Advani was replying to a question by Congress MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi, who wanted to know whether the Government was aware of eight terrorist outfits join hands with the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Replying to supplementaries, Mr Advani said that the Government was aware that the ISI was using neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma for anti-India activities and remedial steps were being taken. He said most of these countries were co-operating with the Government of India. Later, replying to another question, Minister of State for Home Affairs Vidyasagar Rao said that there was no proposal to declare the entire State of Jammu & Kashmir as disturbed area invoking emergency powers to contain cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan. He said that the State Government had in 1990 already declared districts of Anantnag, Baramullah, Badgam, Kupwara, Pulwama and Srinagar and areas falling within 20 km of the Line of Control in the districts of Rajouri and Poonch as disturbed areas. Mr Rao said that, in the present context of Government's peace initiative and the prevailing security situation, a change in areas declared as disturbed had not been found necessary.


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