January 2002 News

Al-Qaeda men trickling into J&K: CM

7 January 2002
The Daily Excelsior

New Delhi: Stating that Al-Qaeda activists had started trickling into Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today said the country must now take decisive steps against the challenge. ''Peace is our first and foremost goal but now the nation must arise and be ready to face any consequences as we are left with no option...,'' Abdullah, who called on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, told reporters. ''The situation has crossed all limits as Pakistan is reluctant to act against those responsible for attacks on Parliament and State Assembly,'' Abdullah said after a 30-minute meeting with Vajpayee. Referring to the new game plan of Pakistan, he said ''the international community should understand that the Al-Qaeda militants, driven out of Afghanistan have started coming into the State. ''They cannot be militants in one part of the globe and freedom fighters in another,'' Abdullah said. The Chief Minister has been camping in the Capital and meeting Union Ministers to discuss the present situation in the State. The Chief Minister said India had made the sentiments of the countrymen very much clear at the just concluded SAARC meeting. ''There has practically been no gesture from Pakistan which we can term as a reciprocation of our demands,'' Abdullah said and wondered what proofs Islamabad needed in cases of hijacking of Indian Airlines plane and Bombay riots. The Chief Minister said by now the international community and Pakistan should have realised that Kashmir would not be separated from India. ''Pakistan has now thrown its complete weight behind outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashker-e-Toiba as a stable Kashmir does not suit the health of those sitting in Islamabad,'' he said. Asked about the withdrawal of troops from the counter insurgency grid in the State, Abdullah said the Centre would be sending some more para- military forces into the State to fill the gap. ''The State as well as the Centre realises the fact that the noose around the militants cannot be allowed to be loosened even by an inch,'' he said. Asked about the new move of the United States to defuse tension between India and Pakistan, Abdullah said ''instead the US should send an envoy to Pakistan to pressurise them to hand over the militants to us. ''No one can teach India a lesson of peace. We have taught the globe about non-violence. Even now when our armed forces are in readiness at the border, we still hope that better sense would prevail upon Pakistan,'' he said.


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