Jaitlay silent on AFSPA, ‘Won’t allow anti-India elements to foment trouble’

15kashmir2KL Report

SRINAGAR

In an apparent reference to ‘threat’ of Al Qaeda, the Defence Minister on Sunday said the armed forces won’t allow elements inimical to India, to foment trouble in Kashmir.

“Obviously there are forces which would not like peace to continue but we won’t allow them to foment trouble,” Arun Jaitley said while addressing media persons in SKICC.

A video attributed to global militant organization Al Qaeda surfaced on internet in which Qaeda’s Maulana Asim Umar calls on Kashmiri Muslims to take arms against India.

Though Jaitley said he is ‘quite optimistic’ about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir but added: “So even when I am optimistic, there is an element of caution in my optimism because people inimical to India will try and foment trouble.”

The video promises a ‘caravan’ of ‘heroic martyrs’ coming from Afghanistan to ‘liberate Kashmir’.

On US and alliance forces withdrawal from Afghanistan and its possible effect on militancy in Kashmir, the Defence Minister said: “We have to watch the situation how it occurs. But there is an element of caution because of these kinds of threats. Our security forces would be in a position to regulate any such attempts.”

The Defence Minister said the ceasefire violations and talks with Pakistan can’t go together. “Ceasefire violations must stop,” he said, “Therefore for the situation to normalize, I think it is extremely important that these kinds of violations that take place at Line of Control (LoC) must stop and that itself is a Confidence Building Measure before we proceed further.” He said army troops give ‘appropriate answer’ to these violations.

He said the armed forces have managed to dominate those areas, where infiltration takes place and are stopping militants to infiltrate into this part of Kashmir.

The Defence Minister expressed hope that the situation in Kashmir would remain peaceful in the coming months. “The Lok Sabha elections concluded peacefully. A very good tourism season is on and from the end of this month, the Amarnath Yatra would also start and the assessment is that that it would also conclude peacefully,” he said, adding: “At the end of this year, the state will also witness Assembly polls.”

The Defence Minister declined to comment over the partial or complete revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Jammu and Kashmir.  He, however, said: “As I said as far as today’s situation is concerned, our armed forces and local security forces have been handling the situation. Over the period of time, we have to watch how the situation progresses. As far as AFSPA is concerned, today I am not in a position to make any comments.”

The Defense Minister, while answering a question, said that the government would announce further measures on the return of Kashmir Pandits to the valley. He said all the political groups in valley have welcomed the return of Pandits.

Jaitley said the new government willing to everyone within the ambit of Indian Constitution and there would be no ‘compromise over it’.

He said his motive behind coming to Kashmir was not political. “The elections have been concluded and there was no political motive behind my visit to Kashmir but I had only one motive and that was review and asses our preparedness in connection with the security,” he said, and added: “And, after that assessment, I am hopeful that we have suitable preparations and I am going back with the sense of reasonable satisfaction.”

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