Farooq urges Clinton to take up terrorism issue with Pak
22 March 2000
Srinagar: Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah has said that he had taken up the issue of massacre of innocent people by militants with the visiting US President Bill Clinton and hoped that the latter would impress upon Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism. Clinton was anguished over the killings and assured us of his efforts to end terrorism, Abdullah said in a message recorded for Doordarshan here following the massacre of 35 Sikhs at Chhitisinghpura in Anantnag district on Monday night. The US President assured me that he was with us in the fight against terrorism, Abdullah said, adding he had also met US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who gave similar assurances. Abdullah said he apprised Clinton of the untold sufferings the terrorism sponsored from across the border had brought to the state and hoped that the President would take up the issue with Pakistani leaders during his stopover at Islamabad to see an end to the violence perpetrated by militants here. Describing Chhitisinhgpura massacre as a great tragedy, the Chief Minister said that our neighboring country didnít want peace to prosper in the region and it was with the view that she engineered the massacre to derail the peace process initiated by the US President. Regarding the sense of fearness among the Sikh community following the Monday massacre, Dr Abdullah said that the community had been living peacefully in the Valley and now they had been made the target of terror that has been unleashed here for the last over a decade. He said that the Government would take every possible step to ensure their safety. Later, in an interview with the International Television Network, the Chief Minister said that the massacre of Sikhs has come out of the blue for the Government.'' Although we were expecting militantsí strike like this on the eve of the US Presidentís visit, yet we had not thought that the Sikhs could be targeted as they had not been harmed all these years of militancy'', Dr Abdullah said, adding that after this massacre, the Sikhs have also become vulnerable like others and measures to protect them would be taken. He said that our neighbouring country didnít like any development towards the peace in the region. Earlier, when Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee embarked upon the peace mission to Lahore, militants massacred 22 innocent Hindus in Rajouri, Dr Abdullah reminded. He said that he apprised the US President how a system which we donít like is being thrust upon us from across the border. To a question, Dr Abdullah said that '' my neighbour who trains and sends militants to Kashmir was directly responsible for Chittisinghpora massacre. To another question , the Chief Minister said that we should utilise all diplomatic channels to persuade Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism.'' We have to use our friends like USA to do this'', he said, and demanded sanctions by the community of nations against the countries sponsoring terrorism. The chafed Minister recalled Mr Vajpayeeís words yesterday and said that war was not an option to deal with the situation and added that India has the history of being the victims of the wars.''We will not be the first to press the button'', he said. Terming Mr Clintonís visit as successful, Dr Abdullah said that he would like US President to ask Pakistan to give up terrorism and become friends with India.