Friday, November 24, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No going back on ceasefire
PM rebuffs Sena, rejects demand
Tribune News Service
NEW DELHI, Nov 23— Asserting that the government was aware of the risks and the dangers which it could face from the subversives following the declaration of the unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan, the Prime Minister ,Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, today categorically stated that there was no going back on it and that “we will make it a success”.

Hinting at further moves to build upon the ceasefire, Mr Vajpayee told the Rajya Sabha that Government would not be cowed down by attempts to sabotage the peace effort and security forces had been asked to heighten vigil during the ceasefire.

Relatives of one of the truck drivers who was killed by militants near Banihal on the Jammu-Srinagar highway mourn over his body on Thursday. 
— Reuters photo

During his statement in the House, the Prime Minister not only rejected the demand of the Shiv Sena, one of the allies in the National Democratic Alliance government, of withdrawing the decision of unilateral ceasefire, specially keeping in view the killing of six Sikh truck drivers yesterday, but also rebuffed the party.

Mr Vajpayee, while pointing out that the Shiv Sena must have its reasons for making such a demand, said that it was the only party which was making such a demand while the rest of the Opposition was not only complimenting the Government on the step, but also urging it to go further. Expressing unhappiness over the demand from the Shiv Sena, the Prime Minister added that at times restraint is better.

He went on to say, “Dangers, of course, are there, but the dangers are not from the side of terrorists but my complaint is against those who are now demanding the withdrawal of the unilateral ceasefire. Even before the ceasefire has to begin, there is talk of its withdrawal,” he said.

Earlier as the Prime Minister was about to leave the House after the Question Hour , Shiv Sena members raised the issue of the killing of the truck drivers, forcing Mr Vajpayee to stay back. The Shiv Sena members demanded that this sort of killings only warranted that the Government should withdraw the decision of ceasefire.

The issue soon turned into a full -fledged discussion as members from other parties demanded that they too be allowed to present their point of view on the issue. While condemning the killing of the truck drivers, the entire Opposition, except the Shiv Sena, nodded approval for the Government’s peace initiative in Jammu and Kashmir.

While the Shiv Sena members in the Rajya Sabha had boycotted the proceedings yesterday on the Government’s decision, its members in the Lok Sabha staged a walkout today over the killing of six truck drivers.

“There is no going back on the ceasefire. We will make it a success,” Mr Vajpayee said. He added that even before the unilateral ceasefire had come into operation, it had created ripples among militant groups.

“There are differences among them. They are discussing this and we like it,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the ceasefire step had been taken to tap “growing yearning for peace in the state", adding the initiative had been widely welcomed by the people.

Even before the ceasefire annoucement, Mr Vajpayee said, the government was aware of rumblings in militant ranks which had given a big setback to their backers.

“This step has been taken after due thought. We have taken a risk,” he said, adding the measure was taken after “due consideration and due preparedness and apprehensions of such mischiefs”.

The Prime Minister made it clear that the ceasefire did not mean any lowering of guard and said the security forces had been asked to be on full alert against such attacks.

Mr Vajpayee said some groups were spearheading a propaganda trying to put the blame for such incidents on security forces. “It hurts when our own people start pointing fingers at us for ghastly action by militants who are out to destabilise the country,” he added.

The Prime Minister likened the new initiative to the Lahore bus ride which, he said, had been recognised as a milestone by the world community. The international community was appreciative of India’s effort to extend its hand for a dialogue.

The Leader of the House and External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, joined the Prime Minister in describing the ceasefire offer as a start of a “caravan for peace”, saying the Government was committed to expanding the constituency of peace.

Insaniyat aur aman ka caravan chal pada hai aur chalta hi rehega. Gaon mein bhonkte kutte isko rok nahin sakte. (the caravan of humanity and peace has started and will continue to move towards its goal and will not be cowed down by threats from militants),” Jaswant Singh said, summing up the Government’s peace initiative. Condemning the massacre of five truckers, the Minister said ,”Everytime the Government takes such steps towards normalcy, our enemies will take steps to sabotage it,”

Barring the Shiv Sena, the entire House led by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr Manmohan Singh, hailed the Prime Minister’s new initiative but wanted the Government to take adequate security measures to prevent attacks on civilians.

The issue was also raised in the Lok Sabha with the members expressing their anguish over the killing of six truck drivers.

CM orders probe

JAMMU, Nov 23 (UNI, PTI) — Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today ordered a magisterial probe into Tuesday’s selective killing of truckers on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

He was addressing a high-level meeting here this afternoon, attended among others by a team of the Union Home Ministry led by Special Secretary, R.K. Kakkar and representatives of Sikh transporters.

The inquiry will probe various aspects of the killing and determine the entry and escape routes of militants.


Exercise restraint, forces told
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Nov 23 — Despite step-up in militancy related violence the security forces have been directed to implement in letter and spirit the ceasefire announcement by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.

According to the official sources, the security forces will cease operations against the militants in various parts of the state, especially in the Kashmir valley, from the evening of November 27. Since the holy month of Ramzan is to begin from November 27 the ceasefire had to be enforced from November 27.

Under the latest instructions from the central government various security agencies deployed in the state for carrying out anti-insurgency operations have been told to suspend these operations so that separatists feel encouraged to come forward for talks.

Asked whether under the ceasefire order the security bunkers will be withdrawn the official sources said that “for the time being there was no plan to wind up the bunkers.” Men of the police and the paramilitary forces manning these bunkers and security pickets have been asked to keep a watch on the day-to-day developments.

They have been told to suspend cordon-and-search operations for flushing out militants from their hideouts during the month of Ramzan. The sources said the month-long unilateral ceasefire announced by the government could be extended if there was positive response from separatist and rebel groups.

The sources made it clear that as far as vigil on the Line of Control and the International border was concerned there was going to be no laxity. At the same time the troops guarding the border have been directed to react only against infiltrators and arms smugglers. Security personnel deployed in the state have been directed to retaliate only when their camps or pickets are attacked by the militants.

These instructions clearly indicate that the central government is keen to give a chance to the rebels and separatists to come to the negotiating table for resolving the 11-year-old turmoil. Determined efforts are being made to wreck the proposed peace process by Pak-trained militants.

The sources said in case the pro-Pak agencies and rebel outfits tried to foment violence Islamabad would be held responsible for sabotaging the talks.


4 Lashkar men held in Thane

THANE, Nov 23 (UNI) — In a major operation the Thane police today foiled plans of Pakistani terrorists in Maharashtra and arrested four members of the suicide squad of ISI-backed militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba this morning in the city.

Addressing an impromptu press conference this afternoon, Thane Police Commissioner Surendra Mohan Shangari said the four Pakistani nationals, between the age group of 22 to 25, who were here on a mission — “Bharat ka sitara hast karo’’ , were arrested from an abandoned building in the residential locality of the Kaparbawodi in Thane city.

Policemen escort alleged Pakistani militants (with hoods) belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist group to a police station in Thane on Thursday. — Reuters


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |