April 2002 News

Attack a reply to Katiyar remark

3 April 2002
The Statesman
H Bula Devi

New Delhi: Intelligence agencies have said the fidayeen attack on the Ragunath temple in Jammu was a “revenge operation” — militants were “responding” to BJP MP Mr Vinay Katiyar’s reported statement on the Hazratbal shrine. Mr Katiyar reportedly said the hair kept in the Hazratbal shrine does not belong to Prophet Mohammed, but to Nimnath Baba. Following a huge controversy, Mr Katiyar denied in Parliament that he had made the statement. Military Intelligence sources said in their assessment, the temple attack in Jammu and Kashmir was a response to Mr Katiyar’s reported observations because the other explanation — fomenting communal tension — is not credible. They said the attack on the temple was not “targeted against Hindus” in Jammu and Kashmir since the Hindu population in the state “is too little” to have made such a focus “worth the effort”. The home ministry, however, feels that communal tension was the goal behind the Raghunath Temple attack. MHA officials said with Gujarat in the grip of communal violence, Kashmir militants wanted to “spread the virus and hence the assault on the temple”. They said Kashmir had not been “unaffected” by the Gujarat violence and that “incidents were reported from the area which could be linked to Gujarat rioting”. The Hazratbal shrine has been caught in Kashmir crossfire before too. In 1963, the holy relic went missing for almost a week and after a mass upsurge, the then prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Khawaja Shamsudin, had to step down. After the relic was recovered, the administration had to put it up for display to prove its genuineness. Again, in 1993, when militants were holed up in the shrine for 32 days, the administration had to put up the relic for public display after flushing out the ultras. Arms racket probe: Eight months after the CBI busted an inter-state arms licence racket involving top officials and arms dealers of J&K, Haryana and Delhi, the investigating agency today arrived in Jammu to take over the probe from the crime and railway branch of the state police, SNS adds from Jammu.


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