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December 24, 2001
1330 IST

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Vajpayee asks Central ministers to
stay in country

Onkar Singh in New Delhi

In view of the mounting tension between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has directed all central ministers to stay in the country.

Talking to rediff.com, a Cabinet minister said the decision has been taken to enable the ministers to dash to New Delhi in case of any emergency.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who is holidaying in London, has also been asked to come back and will be in the country on December 28.

Besides, the prime minister has also debarred most of the ministers -- except the home minister, defence minister and the foreign minister -- from speaking to the media about Kashmir.

"We have to been told not to interact with the media," one of the Cabinet ministers said.

Meanwhile, the intelligence agencies are trying to find links between the October 1 attack on the Jammu and Kashmir assembly and the attack on Parliament on December 13.

Intelligence agencies also suspect that an Al Qaeda cell, which is operating between Jammu and Delhi, is planning to carry out attacks in various parts of the country. In this context the arrest of an Al Qaeda man in Jammu assumes greater significance.

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