|Thursday, March 23, 2000,
asked to stay put
asked to stay put
SRINAGAR, March 22 Responding to the apprehensions of Sikhs of Chatsinghpora about their security, Dr Farooq Abdullah, the Chief Minister, said his government would ensure their full protection in all their villages in the valley.
He was speaking to mourners at a gurdwara in Chatsinghpora yesterday.
Besides government protection through deployment of enough security forces, the members of the community should also prepare themselves to take on such situations and authorities were ready to provide them training in arms, he said.
Praising the valour of Sikhs, Dr Abdullah appealed to them not to think of migration from the valley as this would only further the designs of the enemy.
He said Sikhs had a history of sacrifice and hoped the community would bear this great loss with fortitude and courage, adding that the entire nation shared their grief.
Abdullah, accompanied by his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal, said they would again visit the village on March 31, the day when bhog ceremony of the massacre victims would be held.
Governor G. C. Saxena, who also visited the village yesterday, said militants wanted to drive all pro-India people away from Kashmir irrespective of their religion and had in their pursuit killed members of all communities.
The enemys design is to divide people here in the name of religion, but the attempts will be foiled at any cost, he told a large gathering of mourners who had assembled yesterday at a local gurdwara.
Governor Saxena said the Muslim majority in the State had suffered larger casualties and appealed to the minority community to exhibit fortitude and courage, for which it was known, at this hour of grief.
He said the war against militancy had to be fought unitedly by people and the security forces. We have won this war in Punjab and will do so in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dr Abdullah said a delegation from the village had met him at Jammu only a week ago to apprise him of their problems and demands which were agreed to on the spot.
Mr Badal appealed to the community members not to take any decision in haste and assured them that the State Government under Dr Abdullah would do its best to mitigate their sufferings.
He said migration of the community from Kashmir would mean walking into the trap of militants, and praised Dr Abdullah for his concern for the community.
Earlier, terrified villagers gave an account of the happenings on the fateful Monday evening when armed militants descended on the village and asked male members to come out of their homes and shot them in cold blood.
Villagers also commended the swiftness with which the authorities reached the site of the massacre and consoled the families of the victims.
Dr Abdullah has appealed to visiting US President Bill Clinton to persuade Pakistan to stop massacres of innocent people in the state and alleged that the killing of 35 Sikhs was part of the gameplan of Islamabad to drive a wedge between different communities.
Dr Abdullah said it was a ploy of Pakistan to force all non-Muslims out of the state and stressed that he had raised the issue with Clinton when he met him in New Delhi.
Dr Abdullah said he had told President Clinton that in view of his visit to India we had apprehended that Pakistan will embark on some mischief like this, and asked the President to persuade Pakistan to stop massacring innocent people in Jammu and Kashmir during his stopover at Islamabad.
President Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeleine Albright asked him to convey their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families, Dr Abdullah said.
Referring to the
Pakistani gameplan, he said, we will
not allow this to succeed come what may. The enemy can
kill people, including Farooq Abdullah, but will not be
able to get even an inch of our soil.
of Sikhs condemned
JAMMU, March 22 The Gurdwara Prabandhak Board, the state unit of the AISSF, the Sikh Naujawan Sabha, the State Akali Dal and other organisations have demanded a judicial probe into the massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chatti Singhpora, village.
Addressing a joint press conference at Digana Ashram today Chief of the Gurdwara Prabandhak Board, Mr S.S. Wazir, President, the State Akali Dal, Mr Jagdev Singh, and senior Sikh leader, Mr Rangil Singh, said that a probe by a sitting Supreme Court judge would clear some of the doubts about the incident.
While condemning the massacre the Sikh leaders said that a judicial probe was needed to find out whether the carnage had been engineered by the ISI or by any other agency.
Mr S.S. Wazir appealed to all communities in the state to keep cool and not to do anything which might affect traditional amity among the Sikhs, Muslims and the Hindus.
Mr Rangil Singh while expressing deep grief over the massacre said that the so-called proactive policy announced by the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, had boomeranged.
The Sikh leaders held the central and the state governments responsible for the massacre. Mr Wazir said that if the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, failed to protect the lives of the minority communities in the state he had no right to remain in power.
They also appealed to the people not to fall prey to rumours and propaganda launched by anti-national elements. They said that it was highly shocking to see 35 men belonging to one community having been eliminated in one go. They felt that attempts were being made by some agencies to kick up communal turmoil and the Sikhs had a vital role to play by maintaining cool so that this community was not maligned when the nation was celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Panth.
command reviews security
SRINAGAR, March 22 A meeting of the unified command was held here today to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the backdrop of the massacre of 35 Sikhs in a South Kashmir village on Monday night.
The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, was attended by 15 Corps Commander Lt-Gen Krishan Pal, Director-General of Police Gurbachan Jagat, IGPs of the BSF and CRPF, Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Khurshid Ahmad Ganai and senior officers of the Army, police and security forces, an official spokesman said.
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