Wednesday, May 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Jaswant scoffs at foreign prescription
Rules out external observers in J-K poll
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh today said India would not accept prescriptions from outside on internal matters and ruled out the presence of outside observers in the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

“India will not accept prescriptions to do this or that. We did not accept them in 1998 (after the nuclear tests). India will not accept being spoken to from assumed positions of superiority or greater morality,” Mr Jaswant Singh said, replying to a debate on the working of his ministry in the Rajya Sabha.

Responding to concerns expressed by members regarding the statements made by the EU in the wake of Gujarat violence and on British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s reported remarks on the positioning of outside observers for the J-K Assembly elections, Mr Jaswant Singh said the import of Mr Straw’s comments was not about the presence of such observers. India, in any case, rejected such a notion totally.

“There is no question of accepting any outside observers during the J-K poll. The issue is entirely in the domain of the Election Commission,” the Minister said. He said the Jammu and Kashmir issue had to be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan.

“There is no change in that position nor can there by any dilution of that position,” he said.

On the Indo-Pak relations, he said it was for Islamabad to decide what kind of long-term relations it wanted with New Delhi.

“We cannot accept the promotion of terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” Mr Jaswant Singh said.

The minister said India was ready to have a dialogue on all issues with Pakistan if it stopped sponsoring terrorism.

He said there was no change in the government’s policies on the LTTE and India stood for the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

“India has formally requested Sri Lanka for the extradition of Prabhakaran. We have made reminders to the Sri Lankan government on this score,” he said.

Dismissing the Opposition charge that India was slipping in its policy towards Afghanistan, Mr Jaswant Singh said the government was aware of all developments in that country and there could be no presence of outside forces or troops in that country.Back


Army out in Ahmedabad; CCS reviews situation

Ahmedabad, May 7
A fresh outbreak of communal violence today killed nine persons, two of them were burnt alive, forcing deployment of the Army and imposition of curfew in different parts of the riot-torn city.

A teacher belonging to the minority community was burnt to death by a mob near Sarkhej railway Station under Ahmedabad rural district when he was going to college, police sources said.

Hitting back, a mob stabbed to death a pedestrian and set ablaze a truck on the national highway in Ahmedabad’s Vejalpur locality.

Indefinite curfew continued on the third day today in the Danilimda police station area.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met in New Delhi on Tuesday and is understood to have reviewed the security situation along the Indo-Pak border and law and order in Gujarat. PTI



Gill’s proposal yet to get Centre’s nod
Sanjay Sharma

Chandigarh, May 7
Mr K.P.S. Gill’s proposal for requisitioning Punjab cops to restore peace in Gujarat has yet to find favour with the Gujarat and Central Governments.

“The Central Government or the Gujarat Government have not yet asked for any additional forces,” Union Minister of State for Home I.D. Swamy told The Tribune on the telephone from Delhi tonight.

Mr Gill, now working as Adviser to the Gujarat Chief Minister, had reportedly sought 1500 personnel to deal with the situation in the state.

Mr Gill’s demand (through the media) might spark off a controversy as it could be interpreted as his lack of confidence in the Gujarat Police. Mr Swamy said in the “Central Government’s assessment, no additional forces were required nor had the state asked for it.” Mr Swamy said Mr Gill might have confidence in certain officers who had carried out his campaign against militancy in Punjab. Their names alone could be considered for Gujarat.

Mr Swamy expressed surprise over the Punjab Director-General M.S. Bhullar showing his readiness to send the “elite commando force” to Gujarat when the matter was with the Central Government.

He said forces could not be deployed on an agreement between two states alone. The matter had to be referred to the Central Government. For example, Jammu and Kashmir could not ask for forces from any other state without sending the demand to the Central Government.Back


K.P.S. Gill meets Advani
Tribune News Service

Union Home Minister L. K. Advani with Mr K. P. S. Gill
Union Home Minister L. K. Advani (R) with Mr K. P. S. Gill in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI photo

New Delhi, May 7
Mr K.P.S. Gill, Security Adviser to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, today met Union Home Minister L.K. Advani here and was closeted with him for about half-an-hour. This is Mr Gill’s second meeting with Mr Advani in less than a week. Though Mr Gill was tightlipped about the issues he discussed with Mr Advani, it is understood that he brought to the Minister’s notice certain steps which he wanted to take in Gujarat, where communal violence is going on unabated.




Govt failed to gauge global fallout: Cong
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
Gujarat continued to remain the government’s bane in the Rajya Sabha today as it faced criticism for the country’s falling image internationally due to violence in the state.

The Congress launched a scathing attack on the government for its failure to gauge the fallout of the Gujarat violence on India’s external relations which had lowered the image of India.

“One of the fundamental problems that the present dispensation faces is that it is not clear about what India’s foreign policy is,” senior Congress leader Natwar Singh said in the Rajya Sabha while initiating a discussion on the working of the External Affairs Ministry.

He criticised Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for his doublespeak on Gujarat, saying that he spoke like a statesman in Ahmedabad before leaving for his recent foreign tour and like a swayamsevak in Goa on his return.

“When the Prime Minister makes such conflicting statements on Gujarat”, Mr Natwar Singh, a former diplomat, said, “It is no use telling diplomats that you have no business to interfere in India’s internal affairs”.

“The Prime Minister is facing a great dilemma,” he said.

Disputing External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh for his remarks that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) had become irrelevant, he said if NAM was irrelevant, NATO was even more irrelevant.

Asserting that NAM was still relevant, the former External Affairs Minister said New Delhi could pursue the Non-Aligned Movement to take a lead on various social issues like environment, drug menace, population and poverty.

If the government wanted to discard NAM, “what substitute do you have”, he asked.

Accusing the government of failing to gauge the gravity of the Gujarat situation, he pointed out that 57 Islamic countries were watching the happenings in India.

Besides, he wondered what would happen to four million Indians working in the Gulf if Arab nations took the extreme step of throwing them out in the face of the Gujarat violence.

“This is the link between the domestic and foreign policies,” he said.

He also said that India was short-sighted in regard to its policy towards its neighbour and said that after signing of the Simla Agreement by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, there was peace between the two countries for 27 years.

After Mr Vajpayee’s Lahore Declaration, within three months India witnessed the Kargil war, he said while criticising the government for not taking exception to former US President Bill Clinton’s remarks in Parliament when he said Kashmir was a disputed territory.

On Sino-Indian relations, he said the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had laid the foundation for improved bilateral relations in 1988, but Defence Minister George Fernandes described China as the “number one enemy”.

He regretted that the Prime Minister, instead of dismissing Mr Fernandes was pampering him.Back


Walkout on move to close relief camps
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
Dissatisfied with Home Minister L.K. Advani’s response on the Gujarat issue, the Opposition today staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha.

The Opposition wanted a firm commitment from Mr Advani against the Gujarat Government’s move to close down relief camps, but the Home Minister said some of the affected people in the rural areas of the state desired to get back to their homes and therefore camps in these areas had been folded up. Significantly, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the AIADMK did not join in the walkout.

Opposition members demanded that the government specify the directions given to the Gujarat Government under Article 355 as the ruling party had conceded their demand leading to unanimous passage of the resolution on Gujarat in the Upper House yesterday.

The issue of the closure of relief camps in Gujarat was raised by Mr Somnath Chaterjee.


VHP raps govt on RS motion on Gujarat

New Delhi, May 7
The VHP today criticised the Vajpayee government for supporting the Opposition-sponsored motion on Gujarat in the Rajya Sabha and accused it of “buckling under pressure”. “It seems the government is buckling under pressure of its allies and the Opposition parties on the Gujarat issue. Or else, what was the need for it to support the motion in the House,” VHP Vice-President Acharya Giriraj Kishore told reporters here.

The government should have opposed the motion and put across its actual viewpoint on Gujarat in the House without being apologetic, he said. The VHP leader also explained in the same light Home Minister L.K. Advani’s announcement in the House that action would be taken against whoever had justified the communal violence in Gujarat. UNIBack

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