Hurriyat executive's remarks unfortunate, says Minister
3 March 2001
New Delhi: The Union Government has taken a serious note of the utterances made by certain Hurriyat Conference members time and again. Earlier, it was Syed Ali Shah Gilani's vitriolic anti-India telephonic speech blared all over Pakistan and now it is the remarks made by Maulvi Umar Farooq, an important member of the Hurriyat Executive. In a recent interview to a private television channel in New Delhi, Maulvi Farooq had reportedly accused the Centre of discriminating against the Muslims in the Valley. He had said that when five Sikhs were killed in Srinagar, several Union Ministers rushed to the spot but none went to Rajouri where 11 Muslims were burnt to death by militants. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs I D Swami said these remarks were extremely unfortunate and reeked of vested interests. "They should desist from speaking like this as everywhere innocent people are getting killed by militants. For the Government, all citizens are equal. As far as allegations that officials did not visit Rajouri are concerned, it is pure nonsense. Both the Chief Minister and the Governor, besides other senior officials visited the area. I myself went there." Deploring the recent massacres in the Valley, Mr Swami said the fallout of these incidents were different. In Srinagar, the Government was faced with the task of rebuilding faith and instilling a sense of security among Sikhs, who are on verge of leaving the Valley. Contrary to this, in Rajouri, the citizens, he said, were fighting bravely and had different problems. Asked about the pressure faced by security forces due to the policy of no pursuit in the wake of increasing attacks on civilians and armed forces after the unilateral ceasefire, the Minister said: "The change in militant tactics has come to our notice and we are going to change our strategies accordingly. " "If security agencies get information about militant activities they are free to retaliate if need be. Afterall, to conspire against the State and its citizens is an offence," he said.