Thursday, May 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Culprits will not go unpunished: George
M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Defence Minister George Fernandes inquiring about the health condition of those injured in Tuesday's militant attack, at an Army hospital in Jammu on Wednesday. — PTI photo 
Video: (28k, 56k)

Jammu, May 15
Visibly upset over Tuesday’s carnage at the Kaluchak Army camp, the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, said here today that “this sort of terror cannot go unpunished.”

Mr Fernandes told the media after visiting the site of the incident and the hospital where the wounded are receiving treatment, that the nature of punishment would be decided at an appropriate time. To a question, he said: “I cannot say if war could be the nature of punishment” and added that “at least for the time-being, Indo-Pakistan war is not imminent.”

He explained that India was a part of the coalition against global terrorism. “As part of the coalition, we are providing logistic support to the coalition troops operating in the Indian Ocean and in Afghanistan”, Mr Fernandes stated.

“If a member of the coalition indulges in terrorist activities, it is time for the coalition to decide how to deal with the situation,” he said.

Asked whether the Government of India was happy with the US approach over cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan, the Defence Minister said: “The US authorities have condemned such acts of terrorism.” He agreed that mere condemnation was not enough.

Emphasising that “how to use the Army will be decided at an appropriate time”, he indicated that the military build-up on the border was not a futile exercise. He did not believe that the military build-up on the border had actually resulted in escalation in violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

Expressing shock over the ‘Fidayeen’ attack on civilians and family members of the armed forces, the Defence Minister described it as a “sign of frustration that has gripped the Pakistani leadership.”

He said he was briefed by the Corps Commander, Lt-Gen J.B.S. Yadav, on the steps being taken to beef up the security apparatus in and around the family quarters of armed personnel. He said Pakistan-backed terrorists were planning to target these family quarters as well.

The Defence Minister did not agree with the contention that India was “begging for mercy from Pakistan.” He said: “We are not seeking mercy from Islamabad. Our jawans get killed while fighting Pakistani troops and terrorists.

Accompanied by the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Crops Commander Lt-Gen J.B.S. Yadav and other senior state government functionaries, the Defence Minister visited the Kaluchak Army camp where he interacted with several Army officers and affected family members.

He made it clear that the Government of India would formulate a definite policy on the nature of punishment that was to be given to those aiding cross-border terrorism. Reliable sources said the government would approach the US authorities again with the suggestion that the coalition against global terrorism should act against a country or any member of the coalition supporting terrorist activities.


Swami briefed by senior officers
Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 15
The Union Minister of State for Home, Mr I.D. Swami, suggested to senior functionaries of the Army, the BSF, the police, the CRPF the state and central intelligence agencies to coordinate efforts for containing the activities of militants aided by Pakistan.

This suggestion was made at a meeting of senior officers here today. The Divisional Commissioner, Mr Anil Goswami, was also present. The Senior officers briefed Mr Swami on the steps taken at the LoC and within Jammu region for checking infiltration and eliminating terrorists.

Later, talking to mediaperson, Mr Swami said India would impress upon the members of the international coalition, that has been formed to fight against global terrorism, to act and force Pakistan to suspend aid to cross-border terrorism. He said neither the coalition members, nor the Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, had implemented their assurances on stopping assistance to cross-border terrorism.

To a question, the minister, who was accompanied by Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, Union Minister for Food Processing, and the state Power Minister, Mr S.S. Slathia, said as a result of India’s military buildup Gen. Musharraf had been forced to reiterate his offer for resuming dialogue with India. The buildup had economically bled Islamabad.

He made it clear that though “we have to take into account the international scenario that has emerged after the terrorist strike on key American targets, it should not be treated as any sort of international pressure on us.”

The minister said: “We are fully prepared to fight Pakistan sponsored proxy war” and for this “we have not to depend on support from the international community.”

Mr Swami said the need for international community to act against Pakistan was because there was no differences between terrorism in Afghanistan and the one in Jammu and Kashmir. He said there was no foolproof mechanism in the world which could anticipate and check suicide attacks on government installations and security camps.

He said “our pro-active policy” was being reviewed from time to time to frame and reframe “our strategy against terrorists.” 


Sonia visits site
Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 15
Escorted by the PCC president, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, the AICC President and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Ms Sonia Gandhi, today visited Kaluchak and Military hospital to convey her sympathies to the kin and the victims of the yesterday carnage in which 32 persons were killed and 60 wounded. She interacted with the family members of Army personnel. Army officers briefed her about the incident and the good job done by the forces in eliminating all three militants.

A large number of Congress leaders and workers gathered at the site of the incident to welcome Ms Gandhi on her maiden visit to Jammu after having become the AICC President.

Later talking to mediapersons, she said: “We know who are backing these terrorists and such people should not go unpunished.” She did not elaborate on it. She said the Congress has supported the BJP-led NDA government on matters regarding terrorist strikes.

“We also supported the government when it declared a unilateral ceasefire in 2000 and we will continue to support it as far the fight against terrorism is concerned,” she said.

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 |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |