Srinagar terrorists 'foreigners', had Pakistan-made items on them: home minister Shinde
New Delhi, March 14, 2013
Police officers carry the coffin of a fallen comrade, who was killed in an ambush, following a wreath laying ceremony in Srinagar. Pakistan has strongly rejected an accusation from India that militants who killed five CRPF jawans came from across the de facto border. Amid strong attack from various political parties over terror strike in Kashmir, the government today indicated Pakistani link to the attackers but refrained from saying that they belonged to that country.
Making identical statements in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said some items bearing markings of Pakistan have been recovered from the terrorists who were killed in the encounter after attack on a CRPF camp. He made the statement after sharp criticism by members from various parties, who said the government has repeatedly failed in preventing terror incidents as well in dealing with Pakistan from where it originates. "The killed terrorists are suspected to be of foreign origin," he said about the incident in which five CRPF jawans lost their lives while battling the attackers.
When pressed in the Rajya Sabha for clarifications, Shinde said he did not say that the terrorists were Pakistanis and only mentioned them as foreigners. "From the bodies of terrorists killed, two diaries, one each containing numbers suspected to be of Pakistanis, tube of Betnovate, a skin ointment were recovered. "Further investigations reveal that this tube was manufactured in Glaxo Smithkline Pak Ltd, at 35 Dockyard, Karachi. The name of the tube mentioned in Urdu and the numbers mentioned in the diaries appear to be of Pakistani origin," he said.
He insisted that the government was dealing with terror strongly. "Yahan koi chudiyan nahin pahna hai. Sabke haath me taakat hai (Nobody is wearing bangles in their hands. Everybody is strong)," he said, responding to members' criticism of being soft. At the same time, he said, the government "knew there will be such attempts" after the execution of Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Shinde said, "You wanted that we should take some action. If we do not take action, then you will say that the government is sitting with hands tied."
The home minister said the bodies of the terrorists killed in the encounter were shaven, which confirms them to be fidayeens. "The killed terrorists are suspected to be of foreign origin...Although the responsibility for the incident was owned by an agent of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the authenticity of the claim is yet to be ascertained," Shinde said. He disagreed with contentions that the situation on the terror front in the Valley has turned from bad to worse saying there has been decline in the number of terror incidents as well as infiltration incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in the last few years.
"We are focusing on PoK and we are keeping a watch on the camps there. We are very vigilant. Our intelligence agencies are very serious," the home minister said.
He said many an incident is also prevented due to better intelligence coordination but that is not something to be highlighted on a daily basis. Responding to criticism that the forces were not adequately armed in the Valley and that half of the CRPF jawans do not have guns, the Home Minister said peace process is on in Jammu and Kashmir and the government does not want to do it "by pointing out a gun" all the time and the problem is sometimes also contained with 'lathi' (cane) in hand. "We want to bring peace in Kashmir by giving a special package there...we, too, do not want to keep the military there for long," he said.
Asserting that "condolence for the dead and compensation for the survived" cannot be the government policy after every such attack, M Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) asked the government to understand the seriousness and go into the core of the issue.
"This is handiwork of our neighbour...what is the approach of the government, Pakistan is aiding and abetting terrorism ...government should show courage and responsibility and put an end to this," he said.
Naidu said Pro-Pakistan militant group Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed the responsibility for it and government should make its stand clear on the issue. The senior BJP leader also demanded that the "government should appreciate those jawans who lost their lives and salute them."
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) while offering heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the jawans killed wanted to know as to what measures were initiated by the government to check such attacks in the wake of hanging of Afzal Guru. "It is not only a question of doing postmortem after attack. What is being done to prevent such incidents from happening again," he questioned. Naresh Agrawal (SP) took a dig at home minister Shinde saying he did mention that the ointment recovered from terrorists was manufactured in Karachi but failed to mention as to which nation the attackers belonged to. "Why the government in the country is hesitating to name Pakistan? Come out with concrete announcements. Please specify if your government is weak because all such attacks are done to demoralise the nation," he said.