Massive Uproar As Govt Reply Says 241 Terrorists Have Returned

Massive Uproar As Govt Reply Says 241 Terrorists Have Returned

3 April 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Pandemonium prevailed in the Legislative Assembly for about 25 minutes during the Question Hour with Opposition members from BJP breakaway group, NPP and JSM protesting against Government’s admission in the House that 241 terrorists have returned to the State illegally via Nepal route. There were heated exchanges between Jammu based Opposition members and ruling National Conference with latter defending the Rehabilitation Policy. Speaker Mubarak Gul also joined the issue with the Opposition saying the members should have faith in security forces of the country and police. He said the Rehabilitation Policy has been drafted after due consultations with the Union Home Ministry. He rejected the adjournment motion moved by NPP MLA and former Minister Harshdev Singh on the issue saying the Policy had repeatedly been discussed and debated in the House. In reply to un-starred Question of BJP breakaway group leader Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, the Minister Incharge Home said: “during the past three years and the current year up to February 2013, 241 ex-militants-terrorists have returned illegally via Nepal and other routes along with their family members.” Harshdev Singh, displaying a copy of the Government reply, said he has submitted an adjournment motion seeking suspension of today’s business in the Assembly to discuss “alarming situation” arising out of the Government admission that 241 terrorists have illegally entered J&K via Nepal along with their Pakistani wives and children. “The Government has compromised security of the country. How the terrorists have been allowed to enter Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan wives and children”? Mr Singh asked. All MLAs of BJP breakaway group led by Prof Gupta, NPP MLAs including Mr Singh, Balwant Singh Mankotia and Yash Pal Kundal and JSM legislator Ashwani Sharma were on their feet and trooped into front seats as Mr Gul announced that adjournment motion on the subject has been disallowed as the issue has already been discussed and debated. Independent MLA Engineer Abdul Rashid was on his feet and soon trooped into Well of the House shouting towards the Opposition members and supporting the Rehabilitation policy. Mr Gul made repeated attempts to pacify the agitated Opposition members saying if the youths have realized their mistake they should be allowed to come back. “Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has strong view on the Rehabilitation Policy. We should have full faith in our Army, para-military and police, who were allowing the youth to return after proper scrutiny. No militant has been brought back to the State. Our security forces and police are very alert. They allow the youth to return after investigations. “When the youth have left guns, they can’t be described militants. Some of them remained members of this House after leaving the gun. The MLAs should have faith on people and the system. Nothing would go wrong,” the Speaker said. While Engineer Rashid was in the Well of the House countering the Opposition members, ruling National Conference MLAs including Nasir Aslam Wani, Javed Ahmad Dar, Irfan Shah, Peer Afaq and Mohammad Ashraf had heated exchanges with the Jammu based MLAs by defending the Rehabilitation Policy. They were heard strongly defending the Policy saying it would lead to return of peace. JSM MLA Ashwani Sharma countered the arguments of the ruling party members. Addressing the NC MLAs, he said the Government has itself described those returning from PoK as terrorists. “They are coming illegally,” NPP MLA Yashpal Kundal remarked. Harshdev displayed copy of the Government reply in the Assembly saying 241 terrorists have returned to J&K within 3 years, which was a matter of “very serious concern”. The Congress MLAs remained silent during heated exchanges between NC and Opposition MLAs. Intervening, CPM MLA MY Tarigami said the Government has drafted the Rehabilitation Policy. “I had also brought a resolution earlier to this effect in the House but the Government has itself created confusion by, on one hand describing return of the youth as Rehabilitation Policy and, on the other side furnishing a reply that they were terrorists and were returning illegally”. Minister of State for Home Sajjad Ahmad Kitchloo said the Rehabilitation Policy was not new. “The State Government has approved it while the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has endorsed it. There can be a clerical mistake in the reply. The youth are returning after proper scrutiny. Liyaqat Shah, a Kupwara youth who has been arrested in New Delhi, was being probed by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) on our request and facts would come out on him,” he added. Former Minister of State for Home and NC MLA Nasir Aslam Wani said the youths, who had crossed over to other side of LoC for training were returning not with gun but with their families. He added that there was no proof of their involvement in terrorist activities. “Confusion has been created with use of one word. The Centre has endorsed the Rehabilitation Policy. It would heal the wounds of families of the youth. Use of one wrong word can’t spoil the Policy,” Nasir said. Harshdev Singh said the refugees of West Pakistan haven’t been given any rights even after 60 years of their stay in Jammu while the Government was giving all rights and facilities to terrorists, who were returning from PoK. “Unko (refugees) Waapis Bhejiye (send refugees back),” Engineer Rashid countered. Harshdev lamented that if it was a clerical mistake as claimed by the Minister of State for Home “it was a mockery with the House”. Asserting that it was a sensitive issue, the Speaker said the change of words “yes or no” change the entire story. However, he told the agitating members of the Opposition that the Minister has admitted it as a clerical mistake. Mr Tarigami said the admission by the Government means that the Government was insensitive on sensitive issues. Ashwani Sharma, however, countered the MoS Home saying “it was a fact and not mistake. The terrorists are returning and they pose threat to the security”. Mr Gul, however, asked the members to be prepared for more hard decisions to solve the (Kashmir) problem. He said there were two dimensions attached to the problems-internal and external. “You could see some more hard decisions for restoration of peace,” the Speaker said. As Mr Gul tried to go ahead with the Question Hour and asked BJP breakaway group MLA Durga Dass to raise his question, the latter refused to do so saying the issue taken up by him and his colleagues was more serious. Mr Gul posed question to Prof Gupta saying he had been a Union Minister and wanted to know from him whether wrong policies are endorsed there? After 25 minutes of protests, all MLAs of BJP breakaway group, NPP and JSM staged a noisy walk-out in the House shouting slogans like 'Pro-terrorist Sarkaar Ko, Ek Dhaka Aur Do’ and 'Pro-Militant Sarkaar Ko, Ek Dhaka Aur Do’. The Question Hour resumed after about 25 minutes of protests and heated exchanges. Speaking to reporters outside the Assembly, Prof Gupta said he couldn’t understand the dual policy of the Government. “On one hand, they have been calling it a Rehabilitation Policy while on the other, they have themselves admitted that 241 terrorists have returned to Jammu and Kashmir. This is ridiculous,” Prof Gupta asserted. He said when they talked of West Pakistan refugees, the Government says there was no policy for them. “The Government was settling militants here on the name of Rehabilitation Policy. This is not a clerical mistake,” Prof Gupta said. Harshdev Singh said he had brought the adjournment motion in the Assembly as the grave situation has emerged due to Government’s admission on floor of the House that 241 terrorists have returned to the State along with their wives and children. “This was a major security risk. The Rehabilitation Policy has totally failed,” Mr Singh said. Balwant Singh Mankotia said the Government has admitted return of the terrorists. “This would create grave problem for security forces and police,” he added and demanded that no terrorist should be allowed to return from PoK or Pakistan. Ashwani Sharma regretted that the MLAs were not allowed to debate the issue in the Assembly by rejecting the adjournment motion. “This is a serious issue and should have been allowed to be debated thoroughly,” Mr Sharma said. He demanded that Rehabilitation Policy should be scrapped as it would become a grave threat in the future. Mr Kitchloo said there was nothing wrong with the Rehabilitation Policy. “It is a good policy prepared by the State Government and endorsed by the Centre. There was no lacuna in it. This was only a clerical mistake on which the Opposition raised hue and cry,” he added. On the arrest of Liyaqat Shah, Mr Kitchloo said the NIA is proving his arrest and the things would be clear in two to three days.