April 2000 News

Pak wants to ensure ethnic cleansing in J&K: Advani

25 April 2000
Daily Excelsior

New Delhi: India has charged Pakistan with encouraging nefarious designs to ensure ethnic cleansing in Jammu and Kashmir. As part of the plan in this regard, Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organisations resorted to attacks on minority communities in Jammu and Kashmir in the last two years, Home Minister, Mr LK Advani, has stated. Mr Advani informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday during question hour that the total number of persons belonging to the minority communities, killed by the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, from January 1, 1998 to March 31, 2000 was 311. Of these, 274 were Hindus and 37 were Sikhs. Mr Advani said in reply to a question by Mr Ramshakal that the number of persons belonging to the minority communities injured during the period was 151. Mr Advani also informed the House that some of the specific steps taken to curb the terrorists’ attack on the minorities in J&K include strengthening of the security grid, establishment of security pickets, setting up of village defence committees, dynamic deployment of forces, regular patrolling, combing operations, laying of ambushes, sharpening of intelligence gathering mechanism of the State Police and pinpointed joint operations. The number of terrorists killed in J&K between January 1, 1998 and March 31, 2000 was 2326. Mr Advani put the number of terrorists arrested under substantive law at 939. He also furnished details of arms and ammunition seized in the State during the period. Among the arms seized included 2998 AK- 47, 56 and 74 rifles, 1043 pistols and revolvers, 105 UMGs, 256 RPGs, 53 sniper rifles, 187 rocket launchers and 848 rocket boosters. As many as 8695 magazines of AK rifles, 1451 magazines of pistols and revolvers and 47 magazines of UMGs as well as 3.76 lakh ammunition pieces of AK 47,56 and 74 rifles, 70492 ammunition pieces of pistols and revolvers, 8613 UMG ammunition, 19956 sniper rifle ammunition, 95559 belted ammunition were also seized. Mr Advani said that police and security agencies had also seized huge quantities of explosive material and communication equipment from January 1, 1998 to the end of March this year. The captured material also included 10956 grenades and hand grenades, 1147 improvised explosive devices, 5942 explosives, 10647 detonators, 787 AP mines, 121 AT mines and 1798 kilograms of RDX and 792 rockets, besides 1064 wireless sets. In his reply to a question by Mr Mohan Rawale, Mr Advani stated that the Jammu and Kashmir Government had recently accepted the report of its State Autonomy Committee. The report, Mr Advani briefly stated, ''basically speaks of going back to the pre-1953 status''. The report, he reiterated, ''is presently being examined'' by the Central Government. The Government of India does not intend doing away with Article 370 of the Constitution of India, giving a special position to Jammu and Kashmir. The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Vidyasagar Rao, said in reply to a question by Mr Chandresh Patel that voices had been raised from time to time by different individuals and organisations for the abrogation of Article 370. However no such proposal is under consideration of the Government, he informed the House. Mr Patel wanted to know if people from the rest of India possessed the right to acquire property in J&K. In his reply, Mr Vidyasagar Rao said that the right to acquire property in Jammu and Kashmir was governed by pre-Constitution laws, which prohibit transfer of property to non permanent residents of the State. These laws, he stated, had been given protection under Article 35(A) of the Constitution of India, as applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. ''Yes'', was Mr Rao’s answer when Mr GS Basvaraj and six other members enquired if the Home Ministry had suggested setting up of fence along the International Border in Jammu. Mr Rao stated that a 2-member team from the Ministry of Home Affairs visited Jammu in February this year following two consecutive bomb blasts. The team recommended that the International Border in Jammu sector be fenced on a priority basis. The Union Government, Mr Rao said, had taken a decision for adopting a multi-modal approach for erecting an obstacle system on the Jammu International Border to check infiltration and smuggling of weapons and explosives.


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