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August 10, 2000
Security forces will hit back, promises George
Josy Joseph in New Delhi
Defence Minister George Fernandes reiterated on Thursday that India would give an appropriate reply to militants indulging in disruptive activities in the valley adding that there is no change in the ground situation in Kashmir.
There is still hope in New Delhi that at least a faction of Hizbul Mujahideen militants would disagree with its supreme commander Syed Salahuddin's decision to withdraw the ceasefire offer. The government is willing to talk to such elements.
"We are watching the situation. There is definite information of some Hizb militants planning to split away from Salahuddin," a senior army official told rediff.com.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar and exhibition on 'Military Communications: Role of Industry', Fernandes said that the army had decided not to fire at terrorists belonging to the Hizbul Mujahideen after it announced a ceasefire offer. "However, if anyone should attack us we will shoot back."
"Situation is as it was. Nothing has changed," Fernandes said. He reiterated that there was no violation of the ceasefire by the army, as is being alleged by Salahuddin. While withdrawing the ceasefire offer, the latter had claimed that Indian security agencies had violated it.
When asked how the army is gearing up to face the emerging situation, Fernandes said, "the army is committed to fighting insurgency and is ready to face any challenge arising in the valley."
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