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Posted at: Jun 26, 2016, 3:09 PM; last updated: Jun 26, 2016, 10:17 PM (IST)

Pampore attack: Rajnath points fingers at Pak

CM Mehbooba says such incidents are ‘defaming’ J-K

Fatehgarh/Srinagar, June 26

In the wake of attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday clearly accused Pakistan of trying to destabilise India, even as he said lapses, if any, in yesterday’s incident would be looked into and status of infiltration ascertained.

A three-member team of Home Ministry officials will visit Kashmir on Tuesday to find out if there were any lapses involved in the attack in Pampore, the deadliest one on security forces in recent years, in which eight CRPF personnel were killed and 21 injured.

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The team will look into the possible increase of cross-border Infiltration and practices being followed during the movement of paramilitary forces convoy in Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, while condemning the incident and paying tributes to the deceased eight CRPF personnel, said the people of the state were the “worst sufferers” of such attacks as these deprive them of development and employment.

Observing that such attacks “defame” the state, she highlighted that the strike had been carried out during Ramzan, the holy month when “people should be seeking forgiveness and expiation for past sins” and “making sure not to hurt others.”

After the attack, the CRPF has moved about half-a-dozen heavy-armoured mine protected vehicles (MPVs), which were earlier used for anti-Naxal operations, to the Kashmir Valley to effectively secure its troops deployed there.

“An attempt is being made by these terrorists and our neighbouring country to destabilise India,” Singh said in a clear reference to Pakistan but without naming it.

“I want to praise the bravery of our security men. I salute their courage. Terrorists attacked them (security men) deceitfully. But our security men killed those two terrorists successfully,” he said addressing a function in Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab to mark the 300th martyrdom anniversary of legendary Sikh Warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, said India seeks peace “but from the position of strength and not from the position of weakness”.

He said the attack is a “fallout of frustration” as he cited the records of last one month during which 25-30 terrorists have been gunned down after their infiltration from the Pakistani side.

“I am pained that eight jawans were killed. Why, how it happened and whose fault it was, it will be clear after an enquiry,” he said.

Rajnath Singh said he has asked the Home Secretary to send a team to Pampore “to look into any lapses so that we can correct it in the future and our jawans do not face martyrdom in such incidents.”

The team, to be headed by Secretary (Border Management) Sushil Kumar, is to submit its report at the earliest. The other officials are Special Secretary (Internal Security) Mahesh Kumar Singla and Joint Secretary Gyanesh Kumar.

“We should greet and welcome the bravery of our security people and the way they are working with such valour and courage... India cannot forget those security men who got martyred. They are not with us now and we pay our tributes to them,” the Home Minister said.

Mehbooba, who laid floral wreaths on the coffins of the CRPF personnel in Srinagar, said targeting security forces personnel who were only doing their duty was “condemnable”.

“This is a fasting month when people should be seeking forgiveness and expiation for past sins. This is the time when we should be making sure not to hurt others. This kind of attack where you are affecting families by snatching their bread earner is condemnable.

“Nothing can be achieved by this.... We are only defaming Kashmir and the state by these acts. We also deal a setback to the religion we practice,” the Chief Minister said.

Emphasising that militants were also giving a setback to tourism of Kashmir, she told reporters that “people from many countries have started arriving but this would send a wrong signal about the situation here.”

She said such attacks also deprived Jammu and Kashmir from its share of development witnessed in the rest of India.

“Today there is atmosphere of development. India is attracting lot of investments in infrastructure development and healthcare but when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir, the investors shy away because of these incidents. The worst sufferers of these attacks are people of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.

Director-General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar said, “It is a desperate act by the terrorists. You must have seen over the past few days the attacks at Anantnag, Bijbehara or Pampore, these are desperate acts. Over the past six months, many terrorists and their leadership have been eliminated.” He downplayed suggestions that the CRPF casualties could have been avoided if there had been better intelligence.

“The CRPF personnel were returning after doing their duty and in such cases they become sitting ducks. In earlier attacks, the militants managed to escape but yesterday, our jawans were alert, there were intelligence reports which led to neutralising of terrorists. They could not escape,” Kumar said.

Asked if there was any militant involved in yesterday’s attack on the loose, the DGP said, “We are investigating the case. We are looking at all possible angles and links and we will get them, we will get the perpetrators to the book.” On the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra which begins on July 2, Kumar said, “We will take all steps necessary for safe and secure environment for smooth conduct of the yatra.” On infiltration of militants from across the Line of Control, the DGP said while “some infiltration has taken place, JK police and security forces are all prepared and geared up to handle any sort of situation”. — PTI

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