Thursday, May 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

We will retaliate: PM
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
Outraged over the terrorist attack near Jammu, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today promised “retaliation” against such incidents.

“The whole House is one that what has happened is very heinous and we have to take retaliation ‘pratikar’,” the Prime Minister said in the Lok Sabha.

The Prime Minister was responding to an agitated opposition and some of the NDA allies condemned the killing of 30 innocent persons by terrorists as soon as the House assembled for the day and took up the question hour.

“This question is not such that we have to raise it on partisan lines. The question of adjournment motion does not arise,” Mr Vajpayee said and offered to call a meeting of opposition leaders to discuss the issue and requested members not to disturb the question hour.

“If you want I can call a meeting of opposition leaders to discuss the issue but there is no need to disturb the question hour,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Vajpayee said Home Minister L.K. Advani made a statement in the House yesterday and Defence Minister George Fernandes is currently taking an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and interacting with the Army. Mr Fernandes is due to return by tomorrow and the Home Minister is not here today, he said.

Deputy leader, of the Congress Shivraj Patil welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement. He said Congress President Sonia Gandhi was going to Kashmir today.

“We may discuss it, if necessary, in whatever fashion the Speaker and leaders think. If we discuss that matter, there will probably be a better understanding,” Mr Patil said.

As the issue again figured during the zero hour, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan said a structured discussion could take place in the House after the Prime Minister hold an all-party meeting.

BJP member Madan Lal Khurana said the killings was the major attack after the December 13 strike on Parliament and suggested the adoption of a resolution condemning the massacre. “Pakistan should be told that enough is enough,” Mr Khurana said.

Although several members had given notice to raise the issue, Speaker Manohar Joshi said they could speak when the discussion takes place.

Earlier during the question hour, Ms Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress) and Mr Anant Geete (Shiv Sena), both allies of the ruling NDA, asked the government to come out with full details on the killings which had shocked the entire nation. Congress Chief Whip Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said the members would like to know from the government how it proposed to deal with such a situation.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav voiced happiness that the Prime Minister had offered to hold an all-party meeting on the issue.

Stating the Prime Minister was responsible for everything, Mr Yadav said he should not pass on the buck saying the Defence Minister and the Home Minister were not in the Capital. What happened yesterday was bound to set discontent in the Army, he said.

Later, BJP spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said war with Pakistan was not ruled out.


Bush calls up Vajpayee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee today categorically told the US President Mr George Bush, that India would take “appropriate action” in the wake of yesterday’s terrorist attack in Jammu.

President Bush called up Mr Vajpayee this evening expressing concern at the “terrible and outrageous” terrorist incident of Jammu. Mr Bush, according to official sources, said he was appalled at the incident and expressed understanding at India’s distress.

Mr Vajpayee thanked Mr Bush for his message of sympathy and condolences and said India would take appropriate action.

Earlier in the day, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson told reporters that senior officials of the ministry had categorically conveyed to the USA that it was no longer prepared to suffer the pain inflicted on it by Pak-sponsored terrorism.

India also unequivocally conveyed to the USA that “much more” needed to be done by Pakistan to redress the current situation and it should be done by “deeds and not words”.

“We have conveyed our clear and unequivocal message about the fact that there is no credible evidence regarding Pakistani readiness to respond to India’s demands,” she said.


Rocca apprehends war
Tribune News Service

US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca speaks at a news conference
US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca speaks at a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday. Rocca arrived in Pakistan from New Delhi on a round of shuttle diplomacy intended to calm the high tension between India and Pakistan. — Reuters photo

New Delhi, May 15
The USA today said terrorism against India “is as unacceptable as it is against America or any other country” and expressed concern that terrorist acts like the one in Jammu yesterday could trigger off an Indo-Pak conflict.

“We think that the level of tensions needs to be eased somehow and acts like this are clearly aimed at achieving the opposite objective and are intended to undermine peace and stability in the region as a whole,” US Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca said at a news conference here before leaving for Islamabad on the second leg of her South Asia tour.

Ms Rocca, who had arrived here on Monday night, described the Jammu attack as “totally condemnable and unacceptable”. 

She said the Indo-Pak tension had been mounting since the December 13 terrorist attack on Indian Parliament. 

She said Washington had been doing everything to ease the tension and added that there were a number of things that could be done to ease the tension and not just Pakistan’s action on India’s list of 20.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with US Assistant Secretary of South Asia Christina B Rocca
Congress President Sonia Gandhi with Christina Rocca at 10 Janpath in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI photo

“We are going to work closely, very intensely to try to reduce the levels of tension and try to get both sides to talk because nothing gets resolved without dialogue ultimately,” she said.

While saying that no third nation could impose on the two countries, Ms Rocca stressed resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue.

“Tension has to ease. Continued mobilisation of troops on borders pose a serious threat of conflict... this is something of great concern to us.”

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