Saturday, February 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Farooq to induct Sikh in Cabinet
Implement 5-point action plan of NCM : PM
From T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, FEB 9 — Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee convened a high power meeting here this evening to review the overall law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir and directed that a minister from the Sikh community should be inducted at the earliest by Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah in his government.

The presence of an influential and respected Sikh leader in the state government would go a long way in assuaging the feelings of the Sikhs and ensuring that their interests were protected. It was felt that a Sikh minister could easily be accommodated in the state’s legislative council.

Union Defence Minister and Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa are leaving for Srinagar tomorrow to convey the Prime Minister’s decision to the Sikh community there. It was generally hoped that the scattered community would now reconsider its decision of migrating out of the valley because of the disturbed conditions there.

A concerned Mr Vajpayee impressed upon Dr Abdullah to gear up the security to the satisfaction of the Sikhs and see that attacks against the minority community as evidenced last week in Srinagar and Jammu did not recur.

He said the Sikhs who had been in the valley and other parts of Jammu and Kashmir for a long time should not feel alienated. There should be no complacency in ensuring their safety.

During the wide-ranging discussions lasting nearly 90 minutes, it was decided to implement the five-point action plan suggested by Mr Dhindsa and National Committee for Minorities Vice-Chairman Tarlochan Singh.

On its part, the NCM had formally communicated to the Union Home Ministry steps required to be taken without further loss of time for restoring the confidence of the Sikh community by providing them adequate security to effectively counter the threat faced by them.

Dr Abdullah, who had specially come here at the behest of the Prime Minister, outlined the fresh measures taken by his government to shore up the confidence of the Sikh community. He pointed out that security for the Sikhs had been reinforced and other steps would be initiated speedily in the sensitive border state.

Union Home Minister L.K. Advani and Union External Affairs Minister were also present at the meeting along with Mr Dhindsa and Dr Abdullah.


Kanwaljit meets Sikh leaders
Tribune News Service

SRINAGAR, FEB 9 — While Sikhs favour mass migration from the Kashmir valley following the recent killings at Mahjoor Nagar, political and religious leaders have been impressing upon the community not to “undertake such a drastic step”. The recent attack on the Sikhs, second after Chattisinghpura in the past decade of militancy, has shattered the confidence of the community in the valley.

Two senior Sikh leaders, including Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister of Punjab, and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhinder, MP and General Secretary of SAD were among those who met the Sikh leadership and expressed their condolences at Mahjoor Nagar here today. The two leaders also met the Sikh leaders here and exchanged views on the migration of the community from the valley.

Several other Sikh leaders from Punjab and New Delhi continue to drive here following the killing of six Sikhs on Saturday. A Central team deputed by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had visited the spot on Monday and discussed their views with the Sikhs here. The Central team led by the Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, included the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, BJP MPs S.S. Ahluwalia and Vijay Kumar Malhotra and a member of the National Minority Commission, Mr Trilok Singh.

“There is no other alternative than to migrate”, said a Sikh employee here. He said it was “clear that who are the killers”.

“The community feels harassed”, said a Sikh businessman. But the police denied any reports of harassment to the Sikh community in the valley in the aftermath of the Mahjoor Nagar killings.

The authorities are making security arrangements for the community spread over 135 villages in the six districts of the valley, according to Mr Ashok Bhan, Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir Range. The police have deployed additional 750 personnel in these areas.

The Minister of State for Home, Mr Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, had visited several areas inhabited by Sikhs in the valley over the past few days, including Baramula in the North Kashmir, Budgam in central Kashmir. He appealed to the Sikh community to abandon the idea of migration. He referred to the cordial relations and support extended to them by the Muslim community.

Even as various Sikh leaders and the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and the Governor have urged the Sikhs not to migrate, some Sikh leaders here are mooting the idea of forming a committee to consider migration.Back


Farooq govt draws flak on killings
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, FEB 9 — Senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone today criticised the Farooq Abdullah government for the recent killings of six Sikhs in Srinagar but declined to support the demand for its dismissal saying that it was an “illegitimate” government. The demand for dismissal of the Farooq Abdullah government and imposition of the President’s rule was made today by the Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

Bakshi Paramjit Singh, president of the Youth Akali Dal (Badal), said that killings of Sikhs were aimed at creating hurdles in the peace process.

Blaming the Abdullah government of administrative failure to prevent the killings, Mr Lone and Mr Singh, who addressed a joint press conference, appealed to the Sikhs in the valley not to migrate.

4 ultras killed in police control room attack

SRINAGAR, FEB 9  (PTI) — All the four pro-Pakistan militants who had stormed the high-security state police control room here were killed along with two policemen in a gunbattle lasting nearly three hours.

The militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Umar Mujahideen, which was seen in action for the first time in the state, jointly carried out the suicide attack on the control room at Batmaloo at around 7.30 p.m.

While the authorities here said constables Zahoor and Tariq were killed in the attack by the ultras, they did not immediately confirm the death of the militants.

However, Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said in New Delhi that the four militants had been killed when they were engaged by the Army and BSF personnel who surrounded the complex, housing the control room, in a joint operation flush-out.

The dead militants were identified as Salahuddin, who led the group, Abu Hafiz, Adullah Omar and Abu Maviya.

The militants forced their way into the control room at Batamaloo hurling grenades at its main gates at 7.10 p.m. and opened indiscriminate fire on policemen, killing the two constables on the spot.Back

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