Pakistan will have to Explain for Firing on LoC: Home Secy

Pakistan will have to Explain for Firing on LoC: Home Secy

24 August 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Home Secretary R K Singh said today that Pakistan would have to explain reasons for recent unprovoked firing and ceasefire violations on the International Border (IB) in Jammu sector and assured the people that entire 4600 acres of land across the fencing would be cultivated. He ruled out re-settlement of the border villagers from the firing range to other places. Accompanied by Joint Secretary, Home (Incharge Jammu and Kashmir), K Skandan and Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Prasad, Mr Singh today visited forward village of Suchetgarh sector on the IB in RS Pura tehsil, Kachryal and Ranjit Gate on the Line of Control (LoC) in Pallanwalla sector of Akhnoor besides 52 Brigade in Pallanwalla where General Officer Commanding (GOC) Nagrota based 16 Corps Lt Gen A S Nandal briefed him on the security scenario. The meeting between Mr Singh and Northern Command chief Lt Gen KT Parnaik at Command Headquarters in Udhampur couldn’t mature as the Home Secretary ran short of time during his review visits to Suchetgarh and Pallanwalla and had to flew to Srinagar. To a question put to Mr Singh at Suchetgarh by the reporters, Mr Singh clarified that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was not on the agenda of his meeting with Lt Gen Parnaik. 'It’s not on agenda. I have come here to review situation on IB and LoC. At this time, withdrawal of AFSPA is not on agenda of the meeting with the Northern Command chief’’, he said. The senior BSF officers including IG BSF, Jammu Frontiers, Rajeev Krishna besides DGP Ashok Prasad, IGP Jammu Dilbagh Singh and other BSF and police officers gave a detailed briefing to Mr Singh on the situation prevailing on the IB in the wake of frequent firing and ceasefire violations by Pakistan after detection of the tunnel at IB on July 28. The officers told the Home Secretary that eight ceasefire violations have been reported on IB from Pakistan including four at Arnia and two each at Pansar in Samba and Abdullian in RS Pura. Mr Singh was also briefed in detail about digging of tunnel by Pakistan at Chechwal, Samba with a view to push infiltrators and smuggle narcotics. He was apprised that nearly 500 militants were waiting across the IB and LoC to cross into this side but all their attempts to sneak into this side have been foiled. The Home Secretary later flew to Pallanwalla where he visited forward areas of Kachryal and Ranjit Gate on the LoC. He remained at the forward areas for half an hour. Later, he visited the headquarters of 52 Brigade at Pallanwalla and was briefed on the situation prevailing at the LoC by GOC 16 Corps Lt Gen A S Nandal and other senior officers of the Army. The Army officers were reported to have apprised Mr Singh that all infiltration attempts on the LoC in Rajouri, Poonch and Akhnoor sectors have been foiled. The latest intrusion bid was foiled at Garkhal on the IB in Akhnoor in which was guide of the militants was killed. Speaking to reporters at Suchetgarh sector on the IB, the Union Home Secretary reacted the statement of Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik seeking evidence of hate messages being sent from Pakistan leading to migration of North East youth from many States saying that India was going to provide links of hate messages with Pakistan. 'These hate messages were sent in bulk from across the border to flare up communal tension’’, he said. In view of provocative SMSes originating from Pakistan in North-East exodus, Mr Singh said that some fundamentalists on communal lines made attempts of ‘polarisation’ but they were discovered and stopped. 'There had been a vicious attempt by fundamentalist elements within the country to polarize society on communal lines. We had been able to timely discover this ugly design and control it. This vicious campaign started from across border and fundamentalist elements within the country tried to grab this opportunity to fan trouble. We have already taken steps like plugging site and spreading hate messages’’, he added. Mr Singh said people on both the sides have realized that attempts of division were made, adding that 'fundamental elements from both the countries tried to make an attempt but we stopped it.' He said some fundamentalists within the country had also supported the attempts. Meanwhile, on SMS, originated from Pakistan in North-East, the Union Home Secretary said, 'we have send the samples of SMS to Pakistan and our Home Minister and their concerned Minister have spoken on the issue. 'So far, all the sites have been blocked’’, he said, adding, 'the things are being monitored.' Asserting that origin of ‘hate messages’ was Pakistan, Mr Singh admitted that some 'fundamentalist elements’’ in India too had tried to exploit the situation with a view to create communal tension. Mr Singh said India will take up with Pakistan the issue of unprovoked firing along IB and LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, he said but added that the firing could be linked to the recently unearthed underground tunnel at Chechwal, Samba. He did not rule out the presence of other tunnels similar to 540-metre underground passage along India-Pakistan border in Samba district, which was detected on July 28. The tunnel had origin from Pakistan side and had been dug 540 meters inside the Indian territory. All eight incidents of firing and ceasefire violations have been reported from IB within a span of over 20 days after detection of the tunnel. It was widely believed that Pakistan was trying to divert attention from the tunnel by resorting to firing in which one BSF jawan has been killed and three others were injured- 'We cannot rule out anything- that is why we will be alert,' the Home Secretary said while replying to a question about possibility of more tunnels along the border. 'We will also raise issue of stopping firing with Pakistan,' he said. Regarding the firing from the Pakistani side, he said 'one reason which we could make out is to that probably it was to mask the construction of tunnel, which is in our sector. 'Normally what we used to see was sporadic firing that they wanted to cover infiltration,' he said, adding that 'in other sectors (Chilyari) -we understand that firing would have been done to show that we do not detect the tunnel'. Singh said while in some sectors, 'some reasons for firing are apparent, but in other areas it make us suspicious and we need to take it up with Pakistan.' Asked if the firing was aimed at halting the Geological Survey of India from uncovering any 'tunnel network', he said, 'they cannot stop them (GSI. Survey will happen. Every two to three months, we will carry out the survey)'. Regarding the demand of border dwellers to resettle them in safer areas in view of renewed firing from Pakistan, which was witnessed by them after ceasefire agreement of India and Pakistan of November 2003, Mr Singh said 'it is difficult task to rehabilitate all the people living along borderline'. 'Firing has been going on here in the past. We will talk to Pakistan over this firing-recently what we had talked to them to make the agricultural field ahead of fencing cultivatable,' he said, adding that Pakistan will be made to explain reasons for unprovoked firing, which has forced the people to spend sleepless nights or hide in bunkers. The Home Secretary said that 4,600 acres of land across fencing is being cultivated. 'We will make it further easy for them (the farmers) to cultivate land. There is no cause of worry. The cultivation will go on and the farmers wouldn’t be allowed to suffer,' he said. To a question on arrival of minorities from Pakistan to India, Mr Singh said 'Hindus visit India every year from Pakistan to pay obeisance to famous shrines and return. 'There has been no marked increase in influx of minorities from Pakistan. We have well laid down norms for long term visas for those who can show that they faced prosecution from where they are coming. An established procedure is in place and it has to be followed’’. Mr Singh called on Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhawan late this evening and discussed with him the issues pertaining to border management, external security situation and matters of internal order. Issues related to trans-LoC trade and security situation in the State also came up for discussion during half an hour long meeting between the Governor and the Home Secretary.