NEW DELHI(PTI): In the wake of attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday clearly accused Pakistan of trying to destabilise India even as he said lapses, if any, in Saturday’s incident would be looked into and status of infiltration ascertained.
An attempt is being made by these terrorists and our neighbouring country to destabilise India,” Singh said in a clear reference to Pakistan but without naming it. “I want to praise the bravery of our security men. I salute their courage. Terrorists attacked them (security men) deceitfully. But our security men killed those two terrorists successfully,” he said addressing a function in Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab to mark the 300th martyrdom anniversary of legendary Sikh Warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.
Rajnath Singh later in a public rally said,
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We won’t fire first but if Pakistan fires then we won’t keep an account of our bullets: HM on Pampore attack pic.twitter.com/gBikuCIejz
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Pehli goli apni taraf se nhi chalni chahiye,lekin agar Pakistan ki taraf se chalti hai to hum apni goliyoon ka hisab nahi rakhenge: HM Singh
7:03 PM – 26 Jun 2016
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A three-member team of Home Ministry officials will visit Kashmir on Tuesday to find out if there were any lapses involved in the attack in Pampore, the deadliest one on security forces in recent years, in which eight CRPF personnel were killed and 21 injured. The team will look into the possible increase of cross border Infiltration and practices being followed during the movement of paramilitary forces convoy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, while condemning the incident and paying tributes to the deceased eight CRPF personnel, said the people of the state were the “worst sufferers” of such attacks as these deprive them of development and employment.
Observing that such attacks “defame” the state, she highlighted that the strike had been carried out during Ramzan, the holy month when “people should be seeking forgiveness and expiation for past sins” and “making sure not to hurt others.” After the attack, CRPF has moved about half-a-dozen heavy-armoured mine protected vehicles (MPVs), which were earlier used for anti-Naxal operations, to Kashmir Valley to effectively secure its troops deployed there.
“Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, said India seeks peace “but from the position of strength and not from the position of weakness”. He said the attack is a “fallout of frustration” as he cited the records of last one month during which 25-30 terrorists have been gunned down after their infiltration from Pakistani side.
“I am pained that eight jawans were killed. Why, how it happened and whose fault it was, it will be clear after an enquiry,” he said. Rajnath Singh said he has asked the Home Secretary to send a team to Pampore “to look into any lapses so that we can correct it in the future and our jawans do not face martyrdom in such incidents.”
The team, to be headed by Secretary (Border Management) Sushil Kumar, is to submit its report at the earliest. The other officials are Special Secretary (Internal Security) Mahesh Kumar Singla and Joint Secretary Gyanesh Kumar. “We should greet and welcome the bravery of our security people and the way they are working with such valour and courage… India cannot forget those security men who got martyred. They are not with us now and we pay our tributes to them,” the Home Minister said.
Mehbooba, who laid floral wreaths on the coffins of the CRPF personnel in Srinagar, said targeting security forces personnel who were only doing their duty was “condemnable”. “This is a fasting month when people should be seeking forgiveness and expiation for past sins. This is the time when we should be making sure not to hurt others. This kind of attack where you are affecting families by snatching their bread earner is condemnable.
“Nothing can be achieved by this…. We are only defaming Kashmir and the state by these acts. We also deal a setback to the religion we practice,” the Chief Minister said. Emphasising that militants were also giving a setback to tourism of Kashmir, she told reporters that “People from many countries have started arriving but this would send a wrong signal about the situation here.” She said such attacks also deprived Jammu and Kashmir from its share of development witnessed in the rest of India.
“Today there is atmosphere of development. India is attracting lot of investments in infrastructure development and healthcare but when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir, the investors shy away because of these incidents. The worst sufferers of these attacks are people of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.
Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar said, “It is a desperate act by the terrorists. You must have seen over the past few days the attacks at Anantnag, Bijbehara or Pampore, these are desperate acts. Over the past six months, many terrorists and their leadership have been eliminated.” He downplayed suggestions that the CRPF casualties could have been avoided if there had been better intelligence.
“The CRPF personnel were returning after doing their duty and in such cases they become sitting ducks. In earlier attacks, the militants managed to escape but yesterday, our jawans were alert, there were intelligence reports which led to neutralising of terrorists. They could not escape,” Kumar said.
Asked if there was any militant involved in yesterday’s attack on the loose, the DGP said, “We are investigating the case. We are looking at all possible angles and links and we will get them, we will get the perpetrators to the book.” On the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra which begins on July 2, Kumar said, “We will take all steps necessary for safe and secure environment for smooth conduct of the yatra.” On infiltration of militants from across the Line of Control, the DGP said while “some infiltration has taken place, JK police and security forces are all prepared and geared up to handle any sort of situation”.
Paying homage to legendary Sikh warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the Union Home Minister said that historians had not done justice to him despite his “unprecedented sacrifice”. Lauding the contribution of ‘Khalsa Panth’ to the country, he said it has served as an armour (Surakhya Kavach) to safeguard the Indian culture and civilization. Earlier, addressing the gathering, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal called upon the people to follow the teachings of Banda Singh Bahadur and overcome forces of tyranny, oppression and injustice.
The Chief Minister said Banda Singh Bahadur’s sacrifice in the annals of Indian History laid the foundation of Indian Freedom movement with establishing of the first ‘Sikh Raj’ in 1709. He was a true champion of oppressed sections of the society especially the farmers upon whom he bestowed the ownership rights thereby abolishing the Zamindari system, Badal said.
Seeking inspiration from Bahadur’s great philosophy, Badal said, “Our government has also taken several pro-poor and farmer friendly initiatives to improve upon their lot in its own humble way.” The Chief Minister lamented that the Sikhs failed to preserve their rich cultural heritage, adding it was an established fact that the nations which tend to forget their history eventually perish.
Appreciating efforts of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, the Chief Minister thanked Singh for constituting SIT to reopen the cases of 1984 riots, besides enhancing the compensation to its victims from Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs five lakh. Badal said with these initiatives, these hapless victims had last seen a “light at the end of the tunnel” after a period of 32 years thereby assuaging the tormented psyche of Sikhs.
He attacked the Congress, alleging that it has shielded the guilty. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said the state government is fully aware of its responsibility to make the younger generation to comprehend the glorious cultural and heritage of the state.
Keeping in view, Punjab is contemplating to launch a scheme so that the youth from villages across the state could witness the historical monuments in the buses on the lines of ‘Tirath Yatra Scheme’. Throwing light on the initiatives of the state government, he said the Chief Minister is paying special attention to the preservation of heritage of state.
Lashing out at those who were “trying to defame the state by branding its entire youth as drug addicts”, he said “anti-Punjab and anti-Panthic people have evil designs” on their mind as such unscrupulous elements want to disturb hard earned peace of the state. He said the state government would not allow the nefarious plans of such forces to succeed.
Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion included Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Cabinet Minister Daljit Singh Cheema, Bikram Singh Majithia, BJP MLA and minister Madan Mohan Mittal.