Wednesday, November 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Mufti acted against advice: Advani
Release of terrorists by J&K Government
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
The controversy over the release of terrorists by the Jammu and Kashmir Government thickened further with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani asserting that the PDP-Congress government in the state disregarded Centre’s advise on the issue.

Speaking at the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting here at the Parliament House, Mr Advani refuted the claim made by Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed that the Kashmiri terrorists were released only after the Central agencies had cleared their names.

BJP Parliamentary Party spokesperson Vijay Kumar Malhotra told newspersons that the Deputy Prime Minister termed claims to this effect as “utter falsehood” and that “there was no discussion on the issue nor any permission granted.”

Mr Advani stated that the Centre had suggested the constitution of a screening committee comprising representatives of both Centre and state governments for reviewing the release of the suspects if there was any wrongful action on the part of the previous government, Mr Malhotra said.

“Our suggestion was side-stepped by the new People’s Democratic Party and the Congress coalition,” Mr Advani was quoted as saying.

Mr Advani also took exception to the Congress leaders claiming that the state government had sought the opinion of the intelligence agencies before the release of the terrorists.

Dragging the intelligence agencies on sensitive issues like this was a matter of regret and their concurrence could not be interpreted as Centre’s permission, the Deputy Prime Minister said, adding that in any case, the state government had released terrorist suspects against the advice of the intelligence agencies.

Stating that he could understand the commitment made by the PDP and the Congress during the elections, Mr Advani said the state government’s action should not endanger national security.

Meanwhile, according to Home Ministry sources, the intelligence agencies had written to the Centre advising against the release of 10 terrorists, of which eight had already been released by the state government.

Based on this report from the intelligence agencies, Union Home Secretary N. Gopalaswami wrote to the state government, drawing its attention to it, the sources said, adding that yesterday Mr Advani himself telephoned Mr Sayeed and asked him to come to Delhi for deliberations on the issue.

However, Mr Sayeed expressed his inability to come to Delhi till the Assembly session in the state was on, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the BJP came down heavily on the PDP Vice-President and daughter of the Mufti, Ms Mehbooba for asking both India and Pakistan to “keep off” Kashmir in an interview to the BBC.

This statement was “highly objectionable and condemnable” and she must know that Jammu and Kashmir was part of India. She had no business to equate India and Pakistan,” Mr Malhotra told newspersons.

Regretting that the Congress was supporting such a government in the state, Mr Malhotra said the Centre had sought the tapes of the interview from the BBC to verify the exact nature of the statement.

During the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, several BJP MPs wanted the Vajpayee government to take stern action against Pakistan which was openly perpetrating terrorist attacks.

They also demanded that the government should take adequate measures to protect the Hindu community in Jammu and Kashmir and adequate compensation for the families of those killed in attacks on Raghunath and Shiv temples in Jammu.

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 |