US winking at J&K terrorism: Atal
28 September 2001
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: In his first ever criticism of the US for ignoring India''s concerns against terrorism in the recent past, PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday accused Washington of having been indifferent to the menace, especially in Jammu and Kashmir. ''If the nations who are presently raising their voice against terrorism, had spoken against what India has been braving over the last many years, the present crisis may not have happened,'' the Prime Minister said today, while addressing a gathering of Muslims at his Race Course Road residence. Vajpayee made a pointed reference to his speech at the US Congress in September last year wherein he had warned against the growing menace of terrorism that knew no boundaries. ''But the US did not take my warning seriously, except for offering lip service,'' he said. The PM said terrorists had turned the State of Jammu and Kashmir into a killing field by targeting innocent civilians. ''This is not the way to fight against what may be perceived as injustice,'' he remarked while expressing confidence that the people of the troubled State would give their verdict in a free and fair poll within India''s democratic dispensation. ''The ensuing polls will prove who stands where. The wheels of democracy move slowly but surely towards problem resolution,'' he asserted. As regards Indo-Pak relations, he reiterated New Delhi''s resolve to continue its pursuit of peace through dialogue and discussion. ''Pakistan will have to give up its continuing support to terrorism and we will have to live with it as a neighbour,'' he said. Referring to yesterday''s incidents of violence in Lucknow, Vajpayee accused vested interests of having exploited the situation for political ends. He said the prevailing efforts to fight international terrorism were not ac war against any particular community. ''It is not a conflict between Muslims and no-Muslims, but against those who kill and maim innocent people for a cause that has nothing to do with religion or injustice.''