Monday, February 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM warns Pak of fight to finish
Badal seeks package
From Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Feb 6 — Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir was an inseparable part of India, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today warned that India would take the fight to its logical conclusion till Pakistan shelved its evil designs on the Kashmir valley.

Maintaining that Pakistan was trying to build up international pressure on the issue, the Prime Minister firmly ruled out the possibility of India bowing to any pressure.

Virtually ruling out the possibility of a dialogue between the two countries in the near future, he said talks could be held only after Pakistan was able to “establish its credibility” and these would revolve around the issue of taking back occupied Kashmir (PoK) from the neighbouring country.

Mr Vajpayee, addressing a gathering at a function organised by the Hind Samachar group of newspapers here, said: “The Kargil battle is over, but the war is still on and will remain so till Pakistan mends its ways and stops dreaming that it will be able to usurp Kashmir. Our fight will continue till the time we are able to get back PoK.”

He ruled out any compromise on the issue as the people of the valley had decided to remain with India. “It is a historical fact. Do we need to make it clear it again and again,” questioned Mr Vajpayee.

Discarding the argument put forth by Pakistan that Kashmir was dominated by Muslims, Mr Vajpayee said: “India has more Muslim population than Pakistan as it is a country which belongs to one and all, irrespective of religion.”

Mr Vajpayee said some people were unnecessarily raking up the issue of referendum in the valley since Pakistan had not fulfilled the condition of pulling out troops from PoK. Pakistan attempted to internationalise the Kashmir issue but in the process stood out as the culprit at the international fora and terrorism sponsored by it became a major world issue.

Reacting to criticism of his “friendship mission” to Lahore, Mr Vajpayee justified it by saying that it went a long way in strengthening India’s position as the world community came to know that India wanted peace unlike its neighbour. “We shook hands like friends. It is a different matter that we were stabbed in the back,” he said.

Talking about the nuclear threat to India from Pakistan, Mr Vajpayee said India wanted peace and had resolved that it would not be the first to use the nuclear option. “But it is also clear that we are ready to face any challenge. If Pakistan is serious and sincere, it should announce a similar step,” Mr Vajpayee said.

Mr Vajpayee received an amount of Rs 10 crore collected by the newspaper group for the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Mr Farooq Abdullah, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, said the time had come when India should take a firm decision on Kashmir. “You extended them a hand of friendship, but Pakistan could not reciprocate. It is time that we decide the course of action and not the USA.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, said Punjab had been on the forefront whenever the country was faced with any problem. “I bow my head to Punjabis. But I feel that Punjab has remained neglected since Independence and this should be removed by the Prime Minister who should also try to remove hurdles being put up by some persons in the way of completion of developmental projects in the state.” He said the Prime Minister should announce a special package for the state.

Mr Arun Shourie, Union Minister, stressing on the formation of a long-term policy towards Pakistan, said the Prime Minister had succeeded in alienating Pakistan at the International fora.

Among others who spoke were Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, and Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation. The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, were also present.Back


City ‘under siege’
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, Feb 6 — Life in the city returned to normal as soon as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s cavalcade left the city, which was under a virtual “siege” by securitymen for the past three days.

People heaved a sigh of relief and ventured out on roads at around 2 p.m. when they got to know that the VVIP has left for the PAP complex, from where he was to proceed to the Adampur Air Force station for boarding an aircraft.

In some parts, traffic was not allowed since morning. Shopkeepers were either not allowed or did not open shops due to the heavy police bandobast. “What use was opening shops when nobody was allowed to park vehicles on the roadside,” lamented shopkeeper.

He alleged shops near the venue of the VIP function were closed by the police till 3 p.m.

A great deal of inconvenience was also caused to commuters as no movement of traffic was allowed on the entire stretch of the GT road leading to Milap Chowk in spite of the district police assurance that traffic would be stopped for some time only.

The city wore a deserted look as most people stayed indoors due to heavy security arrangements. “I could not dare venture out. Who wants humiliation at the hands of uncourteous securitymen whom saw beating up rickshawallahs who, unaware of the restrictions, had dared to come out on the road at the Circuit House Chowk,” said a local resident.

“It was virtually a curfew-like situation and I feel relieved that the PM has left,” he said.

Even newsmen were not allowed to proceed to their respective offices after covering the VVIP visit.Back


No move to bring back Netaji’s ashes
Tribune News Service

ROPAR, Feb 6 — Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, has clarified that the Union Government has no immediate proposal to bring the ashes of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose from Japan to India.

He has also said that any such decision would be subject to the findings by a commission of inquiry, constituted by the government to probe into the disappearance of Netaji.

This was stated by Mr V.P. Saini, public relations and publicity secretary of the All-India Netaji Probe and Research Foundation, here today.Back

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