April 2002 News

PM asks Pakistan to forget dreaming about Kashmir

12 April 2002
The Daily Excelsior

Panaji: In a veiled attack on Pakistanís obsession with Kashmir, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today asserted that the State was an integral part of India and nobodyís dream to capture it would be fulfilled. ''Jammu and Kashmir will for ever remain an integral part of the country and no oneís dream to take it away from us by force would be fulfilled,'' Vajpayee said addressing a public meeting here on the sidelines of the BJPís national executive meeting. Lashing out at forces behind the Godhara train attack, Prime Minister warned that those challenging Indiaís secularism will not be tolerated for all religions. Vajpayee told a public rally here that the subsequent violence in Gujarat following the train attack was equally reprehensible and all efforts were being made by intelligence agencies to trace the culprits. ''Who are resposible for the Gujarat violence?.. Who sparked the fire? ... How did it spread?'' , Vajpayee asked and said the Gujarat tragedy could have been averted had the Godhara incident not taken place. ''India is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. All religions are equal and we will not allow any challenge to the countryís secular fabric,'' Vajpayee asserted. Taking a dig at the Congress party for its statement that it would not try to topple the NDA Government, Vajpayee wondered whether he should thank the party or should tell it that ''grapes are sour.'' Recalling that the Congress Party had brought down his Government in 1998 by a single vote, he said it failed to form an alternative Government and in the subsequent elections, people again voted for NDA. Attacking forces fomenting Islamic fundamentalism, Vajpayee said they were attempting to grab the world and spread their views through terror and fear. Observing that India had been facing the scourge of terrorism for the last 20 years, he said any country dreaming to capture Jammu and Kashmir by the use of force and terror would never succeed. Stating how militant outfits were spreading their network in different parts of the world, including South East Asia, Vajpayee said that 15 to 16 Al-Qaeda activists had been arrested in Singapore where he paid a three-day visit from April seven. These fundamentalists are operating in Islamic countries, he said, adding Indonesia and Malaysia are also victims of the menace. Maintaining that there were two kinds of Islam, he said one preached harmony and tolerance while the other spread hatred through use of terror and at the point of sword. The fight has to be against Islam which spread intolerance and ''jehad'', Vajpayee said. Indiaís culture has always been to respect all religions for ages, he said, maintaining that though the country had Hindu majority, it accommodated Muslims and Christians who came into it. ''India has always given everyone the pride of place and allowed people to practise their own beliefs and religions,'' he remarked, regretting that certain incidents do take place and sometimes they acquire big dimensions. In a philosophical note, Vajpayee said God is one though there may be several ways of reaching him. Recalling his visits to various countries, he said Muslims lived everywhere. On the education being imparted by Madrasas, he said it should be science and technology-oriented. He also said there was need to stress on the ''right education about Islam'' and the importance of living in harmony. Vajpayee asserted that during the two-and-a-half years of BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre, he had tried to change the countryís image in all spheres. He said in the food sector, the country had reached a position where it was exporting foodgrains and added that it had enough foreign exchange reserve. In the area of Science and Technology, he said the country was progressing rapidly. Defending the dose of taxation proposed in the union budget, the Prime Minister said one should not forget the enormous tasks the Government had taken up.

 

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