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August 11, 2000
LS, RS members condemn Srinagar blasts
Members in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Friday condemned the killing of innocent persons in yesterday's Srinagar blasts and asked the government to exercise caution while initiating dialogue with militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
Raising the issue during zero hour in the lower House, Madhavrao Scindia (Congress) expressed concern over the unabated violence let loose by Pakistan-backed militants in the Kashmir valley and the failure of the government to tackle it. He conveyed his sympathy to the bereaved family of Hindustan Times photographer Pradeep Bhatia and others.
''We are fully with the families of those killed,'' Scindia said and wished a speedy recovery to the injured. The government, he said, should have a strategy to counter terrorism.
Scindia said his party did not want to take political mileage out of the curren situation but wanted to boost the peace process.
Rashid Alvi (Bahujan Samaj Party), Roop Chand Pal (Communist Party of India-Marxist), Ramdas Athwale (independent), Parbhu Nath Singh (Samata) also shared his sentiments.
Responding to the members, Minister for Paarliamentary Affairs Pramod Mahajan agreed with Scindia who described Bhatia as a martyr. ''All those who sacrificed their lives for the nation are martyrs,'' he said.
''The government is aware of its responsibility and other parties should work together to bring an end to violence. No colour should be given to the issue,'' he said.
Mahajan said efforts have been made to hurt the fourth estate of democracy.
Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Dr Najma Heptullah also condemned the blasts and said Pakistan's support to terrorism was evident.
In a strongly-worded statement, Dr Heptullah said the Hizbul Mujahideen's condition to include Pakistan in the negotiations had clearly established the close links between terrorist outfits and the Pakistani establishment.
''More than moral or political support, the Pak government is actually supporting terrorism in the valley,'' she added.
Charging the Hizb with insincerity while making its ceasefire offer, Dr Heptullah said it had only propaganda value. It was a blatant act of blackmail by a military government and its cohorts. They were baffled by the bold response of the Indian government and its willingness to go the extra mile to ensure peace in the valley.
Dr Heptullah said innocent citizens were being held hostage by those who consider the valley merely a piece of land and have the least regard for human lives.
''Those who claim to give political and moral support to these agents of terror and violence must realise that religion can never be a basis for nation building. It seems that they have not learnt the lessons from their own experience just 25 years go,'' she added.
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