Friday, August 2, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Advani says J&K internal matter
No to foreign election observers
Tribune News Service


  • Proposal to split J&K turned down
  • Ready for more powers to states, but no pre-1953 status for J&K
  • Farooq assures Advani of free, fair poll
  • Pak continues with cross-border terror

New Delhi, August 1
India today rejected the US suggestion for allowing international observers in Jammu and Kashmir during the forthcoming Legislative Assembly poll, asserting that they had no role to play in it as the state was an internal matter of the country.

“We do not need any certification from outsiders. J&K is an inseparable part of India,” Deputy Prime Minister L.K Advani said while replying to a short duration discussion on J&K in the Rajya Sabha.

Assuring the House that all steps would be taken to hold free and fair elections in the state, the Deputy Prime Minister also rejected the proposal for the trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. The Deputy Prime Minister said the Election Commission had been told that the elections in J&K should not only be free and fair but must also seem like that.

He agreed with the Opposition’s view that India and the USA and other Western countries did not share the same assessment as regards the level of cross-border terrorism in J&K. He pointed out that America’s global war against terrorism was mere words for India as there was no indication for its practical implementation in regard to Pakistan.

He said that ending of cross-border terrorism for India was not a mere drop in infiltration but that Pakistan must end “cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy” which it had been pursuing since 1971.

Mr Advani said the Centre was prepared for the devolution of more powers not only to Jammu and Kashmir but also other states to strengthen federalism but ruled out pre-1953 status for Jammu and Kashmir.

Noting that infiltration and cross-border terrorism from across the border was continuing unabated, Mr Advani said, “Pakistan has failed to reconcile with India as a secular state, having the largest Muslim population in the rancours in Pakistan’s psyche and they can’t swallow the situation”.

Sharing sentiments of the Members who wanted the government to ensure a free and fair poll in the state, Mr Advani said he had had a telephonic conversation with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah this morning who assured him that he would take every step for a free and fair poll.

The Chief Minister also said all citizens, NGOs and ambassadors could go to the state to observe the poll process, Mr Advani said.

On US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s remarks that Kashmir was on the international agenda, he said Kashmir is an internal problem of the country and if at all there is any international dimension to it, that is cross-border terrorism.

To Members’ concern on RSS demanding trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Advani clarified that the government was opposed to this idea.

But, he said, there was need for devolving more powers to Jammu and Ladakh by the state government just as it was demanding devolution of more powers to the state.

Mr Advani said it was not just enough that powers were devolved from New Delhi to the state Capital but these should percolate downwards.

Mr Advani said there was no indication as yet from Islamabad that it was prepared to leave the path of state sponsored terrorism and cross-border terrorism.

He said the government was not convinced with the US assurance that Pakistan was taking all steps to end infiltration from across the border.

“Cross-border terrorism is our problem and not the problem of the international community,” he said, adding that though several countries had expressed concern about terrorism, it was related to September 11.

Mr Advani said of late, there had been some changes in the common perception and attitude towards terrorism in the international community.

Elaborating on the proxy war which has been continuing for over two decades, Mr Advani said, “We need to be resolute in tackling this war. We will achieve victory in this covert war just as we emerged victorious in the 1971 war. The problem of Jammu and Kashmir is primarily an internal problem of our country”.

The Deputy Prime Minister said it is not enough if infiltration from across the border stopped. What is more important is Pakistan should give up cross-border terrorism as state policy and dismantle the infrastructure for it.

On the issue of devolution of greater powers to Jammu and Kashmir, he said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley was holding talks with various political parties and groups in the state and hoped the outcome would be positive.

He said the government was willing to discuss the issue of devolution but there should be sincerity and authenticity on the part of the state government. He said the state government should specify which of the areas it wanted autonomy but the Centre would never agree to going back to the pre-1953 status.

“There can be no compromise on the sovereignty and unity of the country”, he asserted.Back

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