Violence Down, Infiltration Up In JK: Chidambaram19 February 2010
New Delhi: The Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said that despite infiltration attempts going up, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed decline in violence last year. “Infiltration has not reduced, but incidents of violence have reduced, and I attribute it to army, paramilitary forces and Jammu and Kashmir police,” Chidambaram told a group of women journalists here. He said the policy that Jammu and Kashmir police should take the lead had been successful. On the reasons behind the increased infiltration, he said, “Militant groups are coming together to give a push. They are rattled by various factors - quiet talks, the Prime Minister’s reconstruction programme and a stable government in the state.” The Home minister also pointed out that there was no rise in militancy in the state. Asked about the recent assertion of the JK government about Pakistani hand in stone-pelting he refused to comment saying it was for the state government to speak on intelligence inputs received by it. “But I can confirm that there is a lot of activity or traffic from across the LoC which is indeed monitored.” On the return of Kashmiri youth from Pakistan administered Kashmir, Chidambaram said the government has done it in other states like those in the North-East. “Jammu and Kashmir is no different. But they have to follow a proper process which will include identification, frisking. De-briefing before their re-integration,” he said. Chidambaram said issues relating to the probe into 26-11 attacks would be taken up during the forthcoming foreign secretary level talks. Noting that the “specific issues” to be taken up during the discussions were being finalised by the Indian side, he said the ministry would like “pending issues” concerning the 26-11 case and investigation also to be part of it. Asked if he favoured the talks between India and Pakistan the Home Minister said, “It is government’s decision of which I am a part. The government has decided that Foreign Secretaries of the two countries will meet on February 25 and I am part of the government. All of us have decided that the Secretaries will meet,” he said. And as the External Affairs Minister has said, “these talks are for talks,” Chidambaram said. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao would be meeting her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir here on February 25 with India making it clear that terror will be on top of its agenda. On the status of key security projects - NATGRID and National Counter Terrorism Centre - the minister said these were under process and “both will be in place by December 31, 2010”. Terming the break of 14 months in a major attack in the country as a “share of luck”, he said “terror never went away, it was always there”. The country had its share of intelligence routing which helped thwart a number of attacks, but it is not always that one can do it, he said. However, in case of Pune, “We did not have any luck and did not have any clue that this would happen”, he said and termed the blast as a “blot”.