Tuesday, April 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Farooq for strike on Pak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 1
The Legislative Assembly today witnessed uproarious scenes when BJP members staged a walkout in protest against Speaker Abdul Ahad Vakil’s ruling disallowing an adjournment motion moved by them and by the Congress members.

The Speaker ruled that the motion was not appropriate and could not be discussed. Two BJP members, Mr Prithvi Chand and Mr Bali Bhagat, re-entered the House and pressed for acceptance of the adjournment motion as it was in order under rules. But the Speaker lost his cool and directed the watch and ward staff to push the two members out of the House.

The Opposition members had moved the adjournment motion to enable the House to discuss the terrorist strike at Raghunath temple on Saturday. As the House met, the members belonging to the BJP, the Congress and BJP were on their feet demanding discussion on the attack near Raghunath temple. Mr Vakil informed the House that he would examine the motion and if it was in order he would allow it.

The Speaker said the terrorist strike at Raghunath temple was most unfortunate and all sensible people had condemned it. He said for the last 12 years people of the state had suffered heavily and the state had witnessed death and destruction.

Soon after question hour, the Speaker directed the Chief Minister to make a statement on the Raghunath temple incident. Dr Abdullah informed the House that a two-member suicide squad equipped with guns and grenades, had opened fire and lobbed a hand grenade outside the temple premises.

He said that one militant was killed by the police within two minutes and another sneaked into the temple premises and resorted to indiscriminate fire. He later blew up himself after he found he had exhausted the ammunition. He said in the incident 10 persons, including three security personnel, were killed. He made it clear that the terrorists selected the target and would strike to cause damage and death.

The Chief Minister said that all possible measures had been taken to contain and end the menace of militancy. In this connection, he said, the security arrangements had been reviewed and round-the-clock patrolling ordered after sounding high alert.

He blamed the militants and their patrons across the border for trying to sabotage the poll process and subvert the democratic system in the state.

Within minutes of making the statement, Dr Abdullah was again on his feet and thundered against the BJP members for trying to gain political mileage out of the incident. He said he was ready for a full day discussion on the incident and once he opened his mind many things would come to the surface.

He lambasted the Centre for having deployed additional troops on the border without sending additional companies of paramilitary forces for taking care of the law and order within the state. “We have been left to the mercy of God. Our people are being killed by the militants. Militants keep on eliminating my party activists,” he said.

Again the Chief Minister thundered saying “Hum bandook pahley nahin chalayenge” (we will not fire first) was the policy of the Government of India. He said, “It has no guts to launch a war against Pakistan”.

Dr Abdullah said, “When will it open fire on the enemy troops? Will it do so after all my people are killed in the state?” He ridiculed the plan of the Centre not to order de-escalation on the border when the military build-up has not stopped infiltration from across the LoC.

Referring to the activities of the Pakistan-aided militants, Dr Abdullah said, “They are digging graves of our people.” He was sarcastic about the Government of India when he said, “Look at Israel. It did not bother about the UN resolutions. But we are seeking help from the United States of America and the United Nations.”

He said the enemy “is sitting across the border and we have to hit him.” He urged political leaders and people to keep their emotions under control as it was uncalled for to raise alarm when the militants struck near the temple. He added these militants have desecrated and destroyed mosque and several other shrines in Kashmir which including Chrar-e-Sharif and Hazratbal shrines.

Calling upon people to remain vigilant, Dr Abdullah said that Pakistan will not be able to repeat Gujarat in Jammu and Kashmir. He praised the people of the state for maintaining their secular outlook and communal amity.

Militancy dominated question hour also. In reply to a question the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, and the minister of State for Home, Mr Najib Sohrawadhy, said measures were being taken to provide jobs to the kin of those killed by militants. The minister informed the House that between 1990 and January 2002, militants killed 9780 civilians, another 2991 civilians were killed in the crossfire between the security forces and the rebels. During this period 14356 militants had been eliminated and in the encounters and ambushes 3327 security personnel had been killed.

In reply to the same question the Chief Minister said the identity of militants who carried out series of massacres in the state was being established. In certain cases, the killers had been identified and eliminated. The Chief Minister said rehabilitation of victims of militancy was the government’s priority but since the list of victims was becoming longer and longer everyday, it was difficult to accommodate all of them in government departments.

A Panthers Party member, Mr Harsh Devi Singh, questioned the inordinate delay in the conviction of the militants lodged in various jails. He said some militants were in prison cells for the last 10 years and wanted to know if special courts would be constituted to speed up their trial. The Chief Minister informed Mr Harsh Devi Singh that constituting special courts was not an easy affair. “We are examining it,” he said.


Shiv Sena leader ‘thrashes’ Lone
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 1
Senior Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone was today allegedly manhandled by the President of the state unit of the Shiv Sena, Mr Kalgi Ji Maharaj, in a hotel where Mr Lone had finished his press conference.

Mr Maharaj allegedly barged into the hotel premises and “thrashed” Mr Lone in the presence of some newsmen, Mr Lone stood amazed and dazed over his manhandling by the Shiv Sena chief.

Mr Maharaj also allegedly used abusive language while blaming Mr Lone and other leaders of his outfit for encouraging terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Since the Shiv Sena chief was accompanied by more than two personal guards, the lone security guard with the Hurriyat leader could do nothing.

Mr Lone said he could do nothing because all had been organised by the state government and the policemen deployed outside the hotel remained passive spectators.

Earlier, talking to newsmen Mr Lone urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to intervene and get JKLF chief Yasin Malik released. He said when Mr Malik had announced publicly that he had not accepted any money sent from abroad, there was no need to arrest him under POTO.


JKLF vice-chief Mir held

The police takes into custody acting chairman of the JKLF Javed Ahmad Mir
The police takes into custody acting chairman of the JKLF Javed Ahmad Mir from the office of Hamid Blood Bank, being run by the JKLF, at Abi Guzar in the heart of Srinagar, on Monday. — PTI photo

Srinagar, April 1
Suspecting a breach of the peace, the police here today arrested Javed Ahmad Mir, Vice-Chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), for violation of prohibitory orders.

The arrest came a week after the JKLF Chairman and senior executive committee member of Hurriyat Conference, Mohammad Yasin Malik, was arrested under POTO from the APHC headquarters here on March 24. Malik had been arrested following the recovery of $ 100,000 meant for him from a couple on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The arrest evoked resentment in some parts of the city and a general strike call for Wednesday last was given by the JKLF to protest against the arrest of its Chairman. Malik, however, described the charge as baseless and denied any involvement in the havala case. TNS


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