Jaitley warns of tough action against militants

Says sentiments of people can be addressed only when there’s peace

Muddasir Ali/ Umer Maqbool
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 19 2017 11:58PM | Updated Date: May 19 2017 11:58PM
Jaitley warns of tough action against militantsPhoto: Mubashir Khan/GK

Defense Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the Government of India has two-pronged strategy for restoration of peace in Kashmir, asserting that “sentiments” of people can be addressed “only when there is a peaceful atmosphere.”

“There is a section of people which would be dealt with security measures and there is a section which would be dealt by citizen-friendly moves,” he said, talking about the “strategy” while addressing a press conference here on the concluding day of 14th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting.

Jaitley said New Delhi’s roadmap for “peace is visible” and the priority is restoration of normalcy, particularly in south Kashmir. “New Delhi would be tough on those who are killing people,” he said, without naming anyone.

“With an average citizen, irrespective of his political views, we would like him to be on the Indian side in this debate, but as far as those who are killing people, we cannot extend the same facility to them. They will have to be treated as serious insurgency problem and have to be dealt accordingly,” he said.

To a question, the Minister said sentiments of people can be addressed only when there is peace. “People in every State have aspirations. These aspirations will have to be addressed but when the State is in a peaceful format. You cannot have energy of State involved in just combating violence at various places. The resources which are meant for economic development of the people are today being used for security,” he said.

To another question about mega projects planned in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Jaitley said people should not be “envious” of what happens across the border.

“I can tell you that economic development of State is certainly our priority. Let nobody be envious of what happens across the border. We have seen in the history that people who have come in the name of connectivity have established strategic presence,” he said.

On return of power projects to J&K, the Minister evaded a direct response, saying officials concerned from Government of India and J&K were “interacting” over the issue.

Jaitley said the investigation was on in a case where Army used a civilian as a human shield in Budgam on the day of by-polls to Srinagar parliamentary seat on April 9. But, he said, the Army was “interested in saving lives of various people (on the day) who were involved in election and the large crowd of protesters that had gathered there.”

About the situation on the Line of Control, the Union Minister said Army would give “adequate response” to any form of violation on the border. Jaitley also visited LoC on Friday.

“I did visit the LoC. I compliment the Indian army for the level of preparedness and enthusiasm. Our soldiers are fully confident that they would not allow any form of infiltration,” he said. “If there is any effort and any form of ceasefire violation, our soldiers will give an adequate response.”

He said “terrorism and militancy” were aimed both against India, its sovereignty and also against people of Jammu and Kashmir. “And therefore, those who have taken on to violence of this magnitude will certainly be accountable for their actions,” he said.

On a “sting operation” conducted by a New Delhi-based channel, Jaitley said the concerned agencies of the Government would take “whatever action is needed.”

“What was already known in informed circles has been proved by the report. They were funded from across the border to create unrest, burn schools, kill people and destroy public property. Their actions were a conspiracy not only against Indian State but also against an average resident of Kashmir Valley,” he said.