August 2001 News

Pak. ''jehad'' cannot demoralise security forces: Minister

19 August 2001
The Hindu
Our Staff Correspondent

CHANDIGARH: The Union Minister, Mr Chaman Lal, has said that Pakistan must learn from the example of Punjab, which exhibited India''s resolve to fight against terrorism successfully Speaking at a function organised by the Hind Samachar group of newspapers in Jalandhar on Sunday, Mr Lal said that by calling terrorism as ''jehad'' Pakistan would not be able to demoralise the security forces He defended the scheme to arm villagers in Kashmir, as the fight against terrorism could not be left to the security forces alone . However, the function became interesting with the Union Home Minister being caught in the cross fire as the united Congress- CPI decided to take on the ruling Akali Dal on the genesis of violence and persecution in Punjab. The CPI''s state secretary, Dr. Joginder Dayal, appealed to all parties to rise above petty interests, for maintaining peace in Punjab. He demanded setting up of a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to probe the genesis of violence and fix responsibility. The president of the Punjab unit of the Congress, Captain Amarinder Singh, went hammers and tongs after the Chief Minister, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal, who was also present. Without actually naming Mr. Badal, he alleged that heads of terrorist outfits of the likes of Wassan Singh Zaffarwal and Khalistani ideologues, including Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan, were being provided preferential treatment, while 200 police officers who fought terrorism were languishing in jail. He also questioned the exercise to shroud the failure of the intelligence agencies prior to the Kargil conflict and expressed concern over the impact the invitation to Gen. Musharraf had on the morale of the rank and file of the Army. The Union Minister. Mr. S. S. Dhindsa, while contradicting the allegations said that all political leaders, including Ms. Sonia Gandhi, were taken into confidence prior to the Agra summit and all consented to talks with Pakistan. He even accepted the offer of the commission to probe the genesis of terrorism in Punjab - a promise his party had made in the 1997 Assembly manifesto. Apparently unnerved, Mr. Badal advised politicians and scribes to avoid such talk as it lent credibility to terrorists. He assured terrorism would never be allowed to resurface.

 

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