Wednesday, July 17, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Opposition attacks govt on ways to end terror
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 16
The Opposition today made a scathing attack on the NDA Government in the Lok Sabha for failing to check the massacre of civilians in Jammu and Kashmir and instead repeatedly raising the Pakistan phobia and excessive reliance on the US intervention to contain cross-border terrorism.

It also accused the government of lacking vision in tackling terrorism and banking heavily on the Army instead of modernising the police forces.

“You don’t use a hammer to attack a fly,” deputy leader of the Congress Shivraj Patil said while moving an adjournment motion in the House on the killing of 28 civilians in the Qasimnagar area of Jammu recently.

The government lacked vision and action plan to tackle the problem for otherwise they would not be stationing lakhs of soldiers in a non-combat mode along the border for several months, Mr Patil said.

Calling for a shift in government’s strategy to control cross-border terrorism, the Congress leader said if the government was keen on putting down the terrorist menace the services of the local police and the BSF should have been utilised in a bigger way.

“The police force should to be strengthened to tackle militancy,” he said. Accusing the Vajpayee Government of whipping up war hysteria, Mr Patil said while the Congress was not opposed to war with Pakistan yet it should be waged with clear-cut objectives leading to a drop in terrorist activities in the Kashmir valley.

Cautioning the government against stationing lakhs of troops in the border on high alert, the veteran Congress leader said this could ignite a situation leading to a war without a purpose.

“Soldiers are meant to fight and not just to stay put on the border for months together,” he said, adding that the Home Ministry should take over the job instead of leaving the operation against terrorists to the defence forces.

Accusing the government of adopting a casual attitude in tackling militancy and negotiations, Mr Patil pointed out that the Lahore and Agra summits failed because of lack of preparations and ground work on the part of the government.

Intervening in the debate on the adjournment motion, Defence Minister George Fernandes said the armed forces in the western front were equipped with the latest arms and were fully prepared to meet any challenge from across the border.

Asserting that the morale of the armed forces was high and that they were ready to face any challenge, Mr Fernandes said the armed forces were safeguarding the interests of the nation and there was all necessary coordination.

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