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August 8, 2000
Congress alleges govt 'disinformation' campaign
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The Congress philosophy behind its demand for a judicial inquiry into the recent massacres in Jammu and Kashmir is based on its perception that not instituting it would deprive the common Indian citizen of his right to life and right to security, party spokesperson Margaret Alva indicated on Tuesday.
"There is a [ government] disinformation campaign to the extent that our demand for a judicial inquiry voices the same sentiments as Radio Pakistan," Alva emphasised while briefing reporters in Parliament.
"Contrary to its contention on Monday, the government can hold a judicial inquiry (on the massacre) in Jammu and Kashmir. You cannot take this excuse for not finding out who is responsible," she said.
"By that yardstick, the right to life and right to security of a citizen can be deprived. In that case, you better wind up human rights organisations in the country," Alva told a reporter who asked whether instituting a judicial inquiry would not demoralise the security forces including the army. "That's why we are demanding a judicial inquiry."
She said she could not see how a Joint Parliamentary Committee could probe the massacre since its nature would be "political."
Describing the Hizbul Mujahideen as an ultra outfit "which is foreign-based, foreign-sponsored and foreign-funded," she pointed out that she did not think that its dialogue with the government would make other militant organisations "fall in line."
She, however, clarified that her party fully supported the government's efforts to bring the militant groups to the negotiating table for an amicable solution of the Kashmir problem.
That the Congress strategy in the Lok Sabha is to stall proceedings over its demand was apparent as the House was adjourned twice on Tuesday. Congress members rushed to the well of the House shouting that only a judicial inquiry would get at the bottom of the truth regarding the massacre.
Speaker G M C Balyogi adjourned the House till 1400 hours after zero hour, while Deputy Speaker P M Sayeed adjourned the House for the day at 1406 hours when the Congress members kept up the pandemonium.
In the Rajya Sabha, Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley appealed to the Opposition, including Congress members, not to demand a judicial inquiry as it suited Pakistan to point accusing fingers at India.
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Venkaiah Naidu took the same plea while briefing reporters and stressed that "we are not able to understand the rationale behind this (judicial inquiry) demand."
"We should concentrate on exposing the evil designs of Pakistan and should await the outcome of the peace talks," Naidu pointed out.
That the Kashmir issue figured in the strategies of various parties was apparent in the proceedings of the BJP parliamentary party on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee explained the genesis of the talks to the BJP parliamentary party members and emphasised that there were no conditions attached to them.
Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani told parliamentary party members that Pakistan was trying to derail the talks.
Samajwadi Party general secretaries Amar Singh and Ramgopal Yadav told reporters that their party was opposed a judicial inquiry because "it is a conspiracy to hush-up the truth behind the massacre."
According to Singh, "a judicial inquiry would not reveal what is happening between the Hizb and the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference and Congress would be thoroughly exposed."
Yadav said a discussion in Parliament on the massacre would force the government to abide by the people's will, which was being voiced by the MPs in democracy's highest forum.
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