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I N ..D E T A I L
Tuesday, December 8, 1998
SHIMLA, Dec 7 The security forces and the police have been put on an alert following reports that about 16 Pakistan-trained Kashmiri terrorists have infiltrated into Himachal Pradesh from Doda district adjoining Chamba.
This was announced by the Chief Minister, Mr P.K. Dhumal, in the Vidhan Sabha today while replying to a calling attention motion tabled by Mr Kaul Singh and Mrs Asha Kumari of the Congress.
The Chief Minister said the information regarding the infiltration of trained militants was sent here on fax by the Deputy Commissioner of Doda.
He said the ITBP, which was deployed in the Chamba areas, has also received information to this effect.
Mr Dhumal said the checking of vehicles entering the state particularly Chamba district is being intensified.
He said the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, had informed him in a letter that the Centre had accepted his demand for not billing the state government on account of the deployment of paramilitary forces in Himachal Pradesh for anti-terrorist operation.
The Centre had also decided to reimburse to the state government the cost of hiring IAF helicopters for surveillance in the terrorist infested areas. The reimbursement would be for eight hours a month and 40 hours would be taken into account this year.
The Home Minister had also asked the state government to send a proposal for funding appointments of SPOs for fighting terrorists.
The Chief Minister said the respective police stations were already checking the antecedents of Kashmiri labourers working at various places in the state. However, there was practical difficulty in making verifications from their native places in Kashmir. The issue was a complicated one and the Himachal Government could not push them back into Jammu and Kashmir which was an integral part of India.
Mr Dhumal said the 216 km border of Chamba with Doda and Kathua districts of Jammu had become quite sensitive after the terrorist strikes in which 42 persons were killed. Utmost care was being taken to ensure the safety of residents of the state.
He said that 172 village defence committees had been established in the border villages and 70 SPOs had also been appointed. The communications and road network in the border areas was also being improved to provide better mobility for the security forces.
The Chief Minister said constant vigil was also being maintained on anti-social and anti-national elements in Kangra district, particularly in McLeodganj.
Earlier, Congress members took exception to the Chief Ministers statements outside the House that the previous Congress Government had not made any security arrangements which could have prevented the terrorist activities.
Mr Kaul Singh (Congress) accused the present BJP-HVC combine government headed by Mr Dhumal of having failed to maintain law and order and putting the blame on the previous government for its own failures.
He demanded that combing should be done in the Chamba and Kangra districts where terrorists were reportedly spreading their activities.
Mr Kaul Singh said that the Dhumal government had not taken any steps to check the activities of terrorists in Chamba district although the matter was raised in the Assembly in July when the Chief Minister claimed that the government was vigilant and would crush terrorists.
However, on the contrary terrorists took the government unaware when they struck in the Kalaban and Satrundi areas of Chamba on August 3 killing 35 innocent labourers.
He said the government should take serious note of the reports that the ISI was infiltrating trained terrorists in Himachal Pradesh.
Mrs Asha Kumari (Congress) pointed out that the smuggling of arms and ammunition into Chamba was being done by terrorists from the Kihar sector and areas of Punjab. There was a nexus between Punjab militants and Kashmir militants.
She said there was no
information of the whereabouts of four persons who were
taken away by terrorists when they struck in Chamba on
August 3. She demanded that jobs should be provided to
the widows of the slain labourers.
NEW DELHI, Dec 7 (PTI) In a major decision, the government today decided to set up a holding company, an apex body of Air-India (AI) and Indian Airlines (IA), paving the way for merger of the two national carriers.
This was decided at a joint meeting of the boards of IA and AI which considered the report of consultants, A.R. Ferguson, regarding merger of the two companies.
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