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November 18, 1998


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Infiltration under control, says Advani

Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani said infiltration of terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan has been effectively controlled.

Addressing a public meeting in Rewas last night, he said the reign of terror in the border state was over. ''Now the situation has returned to normal,'' he added.

Claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party would form governments in Madhya Pradesh as well as the proposed Chhattisgarh State, Advani said his party would retain power in two of the three other states going to the polls on November 25.

Advani strongly defended Atal Bihari Vajpayee's performance as prime minister, saying the latter's handling of the government in the last eight months had demonstrated that he had the ''ability, integrity and capability to lead a country like India''.

Commenting on Congress president Sonia Gandhi's claim that Vajpayee was a weak prime minister, Advani told newsmen at Mana airport in Raipur that the opposition leader's contention was absurd.

Stating there was no threat to the Vajpayee government, Advani said the government's problems began on day one, since the BJP had no clear majority in the Lok Sabha.

About the Congress charge that the BJP was inept in running the government, Advani said the BJP-led government was not serving its own interests but that of the country.

Speaking of the attacks against his party by the Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist, he drew a parallel with the communists and Congress joining hands against the movement of the late Jayaprakash Narayan 25 years ago.

''History is being repeated. Now with the Congress and communists, despite their differences, joining together on the anti-BJP stand," he said.

Asked about the propriety of holding talks with Pakistan despite that country continuing a proxy war against India, he said the talks were being held to find a solution on bilateral issues.

About the allegations that some members of the Union cabinet had links with people like Dawood front man Romesh Sharma, who was arrested recently, Advani said Sharma could not have operated from the capital all these years without the patronage of politicians and officers. The Central Bureau of Investigation was inquiring into it, he added.

He said after China exploded its first nuclear bomb in 1964, the Jana Sangh then had resolved to make India a nuclear power. Within two months of coming to power, the Vajpayee government had achieved this dream, he said. He complemented the party's allies for extending full co-operation and support. That, he said, was the first of the promises fulfilled, he said.

The second achievement was to control the Pakistan-aided terrorism in different parts of the country. Within these few months we have succeeded in destroying 20 Pakistani terrorist training camps in Kashmir. After 10 long years peace has returned to the valley. The number of tourists going to Kashmir has increased manifold. Even film units are shooting in the valley, he said.

He blamed the Congress for what he called vote-bank politics and for scrapping legal instruments like TADA, adding that this was one reason why internal security had slackened.

''Pakistan was humbled thrice in direct confrontation with us. We are determined to defeat Pakistan in its proxy war," he said.

The BJP government had created confidence in the Kashmiris and Pakistan wasn't getting any more local recruits for terrorist activities, he said, adding that as a result of this Afghan and Pakistani terrorists were infiltrating into Kashmir.

Advani also said the Union cabinet may again send a recommendation for imposition of governor's rule in Bihar to the President.

Expressing concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state, advani said the Union home secretary has been sent to look into the recent killings in Jehanabad.

Meanwhile, Advani said the Chhattisgarh state would definitely be created, irrespective of which party formed the government in Madhya Pradesh after the assembly elections and that there was no dispute over the issue.

Asked whether the dispute over Udhamsingh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh would delay the reorganisation of states, Advani said there was no dispute on Chhattisgarh and that the separate state would definitely be formed. He said the Centre had no intention to bring in a legislation to revive the Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

He said the states were free to enact suitable legislation in this regard. He pointed out that the Tamil Nadu government had also enacted a substitute legislation to curb terrorist activities and said central legislation like the National Security Act was already in place.

About the measures being taken to curb naxalite activities, Advani said a standing committee was formed at the Hyderabad conference and that it was regularly reviewing the situation every month.

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