August 2001 News

Lashkar wants to destroy India: Swami

18 August 2001
The Asian Age
Faraz Ahmad

New Delhi: Union minister of state for home I.D. Swami said Pakistan-based terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba are primarily interested in destroying and subverting India. In an exclusive interview to The Asian Age, Mr Swami said that the security forces had recovered a letter from a terrorist, who was killed in an encounter after attack on to Amarnath yatris, which read, “Lashkar-e- Tayyaba: We are fidayeen. I am a fidayee and in the name of Allah we will continue to kill and be killed till such time we destroy India and we overcome India.” The minister said that the exact words in Urdu that were used in the letter are: “Jab tak hum Hindustan ko barbad nahin kar dete, isko maghloob nahin kar lete, us waqt tak hum is raste par chalte rahenge.’’ Mr Swami contradicted the claim made by Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who had called the terrorists attacking targets in Jammu and Kashmir as “freedom fighters.” “There was not a word about Kashmiris, not a word about Kashmir, not a word saying that I am trying to help those against whom atrocities are being committed by the Indian government or by the security forces or by the Army. Not a word either in their sympathy or against Indian security forces. But all it said was that ‘we will continue to kill and be killed till such time we completely overpower India,’” he said. “This is their mentality,” said the minister and added, “This is most unfortunate that the authorities in Pakistan have not yet realised that nobody on earth can take it as a freedom struggle or jihad.” Mr Swami, however, repeated the line of argument put forward by Union home minister L.K. Advani, saying: “The more there are successes of the counter- insurgency measures, the more they would go out in search of soft targets and wherever they get soft targets, they could succeed, there is no doubt about it.” Describing the recent spurt in terrorist activities as “an act of desperation and frustration on the part of the militants who have been chased vigorously as a result of the proactive policy of the Vajpayee government after the withdrawal of non-initiation of combative offense,” the minister claimed: “More than 500 terrorists have been eliminated or neutralised as a measure of counter-insurgency efforts during the months of June and July.” Mr Swami, however, refused to divulge how the Vajpayee government proposed to counter the suicide squads, saying: “With the change of tactics and the growing of suicidal squads, some tactical changes on the ground are always made. That is for the forces and they are making it.” A retired bureaucrat from Haryana, Mr Swami suggested that his fellow minister in the Union home ministry Vidya Sagar Rao is perhaps being sidelined by Mr Advani because of his perceived lack of command over Hindi, Urdu and even English. Asked why is he is sent to spots of crisis, whether Kashmir or the Northeast, Mr Swami said, “It is for the home minister to decide. Whenever he wants to send any of his colleagues, he sends.” But, of course, there may be difficulty because it is north and I can better converse in Hindi, Urdu and English also. So, Mr Rao being from South, it may be difficult for him to understand Urdu and Hindi. Of course, I can claim that as a former IAS officer, I have some experience of administration. There is no doubt about that.”

 

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