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December 17, 2001
1818 IST

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Congress pledges support to action against terrorism

Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

In a significant shift in its stand, the Congress party on Monday said it would support any 'well considered' government action on terrorism, saying there can be no 'two views on it'.

Addressing the media, party spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy also indicated that his party would support the government if it decides to cross the Line of Control, separating India and Pakistan, and attack terrorist camps, calling such an action 'strategic'.

However, Reddy made it clear that his party would raise the issue of 'security lapse' when the Parliament reconvenes on Tuesday.

"We will raise (the issue of) security lapse and we will discuss all related questions and the result of the inquiry (so far) into the December 13 terrorist attack in Parliament," Reddy told reporters.

Justifying the party decision to raise the issue, Reddy said, "It was Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani who started the debate on security lapse by denying that there had been any."

He added that the 'the home minister should have observed restraint'.

Responding to a question on Pakistan's demand for a joint probe into the attack on Parliament, Reddy said, "Pakistan is trying to skirt the issue. It should be appreciative of the unprecedented gravity of the black deed (of the terrorist attack in Parliament)."

He expressed satisfaction at the evidence gathered by the Delhi police against Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

"These outfits have been nurtured by the Inter-Services Intelligence," he pointed out, adding that Pakistan should respond to the legitimate request by the Indian government to arrest the leaders of the two organisations.

Asked to comment on the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent comment that India should exercise restraint regarding the crossing of the LoC, Reddy said, "We as a sovereign nation will have to take our own decisions. The international community will express its views. Our decision should take all these inputs into consideration."

The Congress spokesman, however, appeared cagey on the question of his party's earlier resolve to press for the resignation of Defence Minister George Fernandes in the 'coffins purchase scam'.

Complete coverage of the attack on Parliament

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