New Delhi, Oct 27: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said the people of Kashmir ought to stand with the government and not with the separatists in the fight against militancy.
“I think it is absolutely essential for all of us …that in this battle, we need the Kashmiri people on our side. It’s a battle for sovereignty, it’s a battle against separatists and militants and the key is also held by the people,” he said.
“And therefore our approach has to be guided by the fact that those people are on our side, and not with the separatists,” he said while delivering the first Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture here.
“At a time when the country is dealing with troubles being fomented from across the border, some local groups have joined them and the worst sufferers are Kashmiri people themselves,” he said.
“How do we resolve the situation? Governments have said that we are ready for the most logical option. We are willing to talk to people, we are willing to even interact and involve regional mainstream parties into it,” he added.
Jaitley also said that mainstream regional parties, which speak one language in Srinagar and another in Delhi, must have the courage to face the situation.
They need to create an alternative set of discourse in the Valley for separatists, he said adding “Unfortunately they duck that responsibility. And therefore this is a battle which India has to win and I have no doubt in mind, we will succeed in it at the end of the day because the politics of India has to send a clear message that separatism will never be accepted by India and its mainstream”.
He said that every policy and position that the government takes have to be guided by one of the yardsticks that “the people of Kashmir have to be gradually brought on this side and that will be the real test of when we succeed”.
In his speech, Jaitley also made an oblique reference to developments in the CBI and wondered whether non-accountability of institutions could be a ground for investigative adventurism and masking corruption.
The country is higher than any institution or the government, he said.
“The nation that is India, is higher than any institution or government. Can non-accountability be a mask for corruption? Can it be a ground for investigative adventurism, or can it, as in case of other non-accountable institution, be a ground for inaction? What does the nation do? It is a major challenge,” Jaitley said.
Observing that he was not providing any answer to the vexed questions, the minister said, “One answer is clear to me. The country is taller than any institution. And therefore, when we deal with non-accountable institutions, which is a challenge of the day. We will have to keep these challenges in mind. And those who think right will perhaps reflect on this.”
Jaitley also regretted that the attempts were being made to weaken the authority of the elected and creating a power shift in favour of non-accountable institutions.
“Ultimately at the centre or the states, it is the elected who are accountable. The non-accountable are not accountable,” the minister stressed.
We stand united with our soldiers: All-party resolution
No call for calm in it disappoints Omar
New Delhi, Feb 16: All political parties of India Saturday put up a united face and expressed their “determination” to fight militancy following the Lethpora attack, underlining their solidarity with security forces for “defending the country’s unity and integrity”.
A meeting of all political parties, including the BJP and the Congress, passed a resolution condemning the attack and alleged support being given to it from across the border.
The all-party meeting took place in the aftermath of one of the biggest attacks on government forces on Thursday on the highway near Lethpora in Awantipora town, in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed.
Militant organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the responsibility for it stating that a local recruit of its carried out the attack.
The resolution did not name Pakistan but asserted that India has been facing the “menace of cross-border terrorism” which of late, it added, is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border.
The meeting was convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Condemning the attack, the resolution reiterated that India has displayed firmness and resilience in tackling it.
The parties vowed to stand with the families in their hour of grief.
“…Of late, terrorism in India is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border, India has displayed firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges. The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges. We stand united in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism, defending India’s unity and integrity,” read the resolution passed at the all-party meeting.
The meeting was attended by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien of the TMC, Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, Jithendra Reddy of the TRS, D Raja of the CPI, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP among others.
Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal, Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav are among others who attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed his displeasure with the resolution.
Taking to social networking site Twitter, Omar wrote: “Disappointed the resolution did not include a call for calm. Reports of violence in Jammu & tension in university/college campuses in some states, I would have expected an appeal for calm to have gone with the condemnation & condolences.”
Army officer killed in IED blast along Rajouri LoC
Srinagar, Feb 16: An army officer was killed and a soldier suffered injuries on Saturday while defusing and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on Line of Control in Rajouri.
The Major-rank officer was defusing the IED which had been allegedly planted by militants. The officer is from the Corps of Engineers.
The blast killed the officer and injured a soldier who was evacuated to hospital, officials said.
The IED was planted 1.5 km inside the Line of Control in the Naushera sector of Rajouri district.
The army has confirmed that it was an IED blast and not a BAT action.
The IED blast came two days after 49 CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish attacker rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a bus carrying them in Pulwama district in south Kashmir.
Militants can’t hide, will be punished: PM
Yavatmal (Maha), Feb 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that militant groups who carried out the Pulwama attack that left 49 CRPF troopers dead, could not hide and “will be punished” as the government forces have been given a “free hand” to tackle the inevitable.
Paying tributes to two Central Reserve Police Force troopers from Maharashtra and others killed in the deadly attack on Thursday, Modi said the country had “faith and pride in our soldiers and security forces and their sacrifices would not go in vain.”
“Wherever the militant groups and perpetrators may hide, our forces will flush them out and punish them,” Modi said amidst cheers from the gathering of farmers and women here.
“When and how to accomplish this had been left to the security forces,” he said, appealing to the people of the country to be “patient” and repose confidence in the armed forces, “as the militant perpetrators shall not be spared at any cost”, he added.