Sunday, August 27, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Fernandes rules out hot pursuit
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 26 — The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, has ruled out hot pursuit of terrorist and unlawful activists across the Line of Control (LoC) on the ground that the operation would cost serious sufferings to the civilian population across the border.

Speaking here today, Mr Fernandes said “terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and other areas across the LoC are not exclusive zones but are located in civilian enclaves.” Any action to destroy and attack these camps will invariably cause collateral damage resulting into deaths of innocent men, women and children and therefore would be against the humanitarian principles India has always stood for”, he observed.

The Defence Minister, however, stressed that India was determined to defeat Pakistani designs of waging proxy war against it which has been going on for the past 10 years. He said the proxy war involved Pakistan’s attempts to encroach our territory by overrunning a post here and there. The other approach causing greater concern was Pakistan’s pushing in of infiltrators and terrorists into the Indian side of the LoC. He revealed that the foreigners constituted 70 per cent of the mercenaries active in Jammu and Kashmir, equipped with most modern weapons and means of communications. They carried improvised explosive devices and RDX which they were trained to use indiscriminately against all, including the civilian population.

The minister stressed that India was capable of countering Pakistan’s designs, thanks to the bravery and determination of the Indian Army. He paid tributes to the valour of the Indian forces, both of Army and Air Force for playing a magnificent role and crushing the Pakistani misadventure in Kargil last year without crossing the LoC. “Even our supersonic aircraft that went into action did not fly across the LoC”, the Defence Minister said.

He also disclosed that during the intensified operations against foreign mercenaries Indian troops had killed 394 terrorists between June and August this year.


17 militants killed
Tribune News Service and agencies

SRINAGAR, Aug 26 — At least nine persons, including eight militants, were killed in separate incidents while the security forces recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition during search operations in Kashmir valley since yesterday. (A UNI report put the number of militants killed in the valley since last night at 17.)

A police spokesman said here this evening that four militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad were killed in an encounter with the security forces at Katianwali, Gogal forest in Kupwara district today. Till the reports last came in, the operation was still in progress. The police said that security forces assisted by the police cordoned off the forests on specific information. The encounter ensued when the hiding militants opened fire on the search party.

An SPO was also killed during the encounter in Kupwara, which began after security forces were tipped off about the presence of a large group of militants in the thick jungle, while two armymen were injured, he said.

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