Govt will do everything to prevent cross-border terror: HM

NEW DELHI, July 30:

Linking the Gurdaspur attack to Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the three terrorists had infiltrated from there to carry out the strike and asserted that the Government will do everything possible to prevent cross-border terrorism.
Making a statement in Rajya Sabha on Monday’s attack in Punjab, he said “any effort by the enemies of our nation to undermine India’s territorial integrity and security or imperil the safety and security of our citizens will meet an effective and forceful response from our security forces.”
The Government “has been and will remain resolute in this regard”, he said.
Singh made the statement amid din created by Congress members which was strongly disapproved of by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who said it was “not politics” but a “statement on a terrorist attack” that concerns the security of the country.
However, as the unrelenting Congress members continued to shout slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singh said, “I take this opportunity to assure the House that the Government is firmly to root out terrorism from India.”
The Home Minister also assured the House that “the Government will do everything possible to prevent cross-border terrorism aimed against India.”
Giving details of the attack in Punjab, he said, “preliminary analyses of GPS data indicates that the terrorists had infiltrated from Pakistan through the area near Tash in Gurdaspur district, where the Ravi river enters Pakistan.”
It is also suspected, he said, that the same terrorists had planted five IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) on the railway track near Talwandi village between Dinanagar and Jhakoladi which were subsequently defused by the bomb disposal squad. A night vision device was also recovered from the spot.
“The security forces in the border are alert but the difficult terrain coupled with recent heavy rains, resulting in excess flow in the rivers and canals along the border, could have been a factor, in this particular group sneaking into Punjab,” the Home Minister said.
He said that during the last one month, there were five attempts at cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir sector, out of which four were interdicted and eight terrorists neutralised.
In the remaining one instance, the terrorists went back after effective retaliation by the Indian forces.
Singh hailed Punjab Police for engaging the terorrists “effectively” and said all efforts were made to apprehend the attackers and prevent their escape besides avoiding any collateral damage.
The Army and NSG were placed on standby to support the Punjab Police opertions, he said, adding the Union Home Ministry monitored the situation closely and was in constant touch with the Punjab Government.
“In the end, all the three terrorists were neutralised in this successful operation,” Singh said and added with regret that Superintendent of Police (Detective) Baljeet Singh, “who was leading from front”, was martyred.
During the operation, the BSF and the Army were placed on high alert along the border, he said.
“I personally spoke to the Chief Minister of Punjab (Parkash Singh Badal) and assured him of all assistance from the Central Government,” Singh added.
While he spoke, the Congress members, carrying placards, were shouting slogans in the Well against the Prime Minister and his Government over the terror attack.
The slogans included: “56 inch ki chhati hai hai (down with 56 inch chest)’ and ‘Narendra Modi hai hai (down with Narendra Modi)’ and ‘NDA government hai hai (down with NDA Government).”
In his statement, the Home Minister narrated the sequence of events of July 27 when three heavily-armed terrorists dressed in Army uniforms struck in Gurdaspur at around 5.30 am and stormed the police station, leading to a 12-hour gunbattle.
The Punjab Police have recovered a number of “incriminating material” including three AK rifles, 19 magazines and two GPS devices from the dead terrorists, which are being analysed for further necessary action, he said.
In the terror attack, three civilians, three Home Guards and one police officer lost their lives, he said, adding 10 civilians and seven security force personnel were also injured.
“I place on record my sincere appreciation for the successful operation conducted by the Punjab Police,” Singh said.
“The Government offers its heartfelt condolences to the families of civilians and security force personnel killed in this terror attack and wishes the speedy recovery of injured persons,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Government today accused Congress of being “irresponsible” for not allowing Home Minister Rajnath Singh to make a statement in Rajya Sabbha on the Gurdaspur terrorist attack, which it said had originated from Pakistan.
Attacking Congress, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the opposition party, due to its “petty” politics, presented the country as a “divided” house by not allowing a discussion in Parliament on the cross-border terror incident.
He also slammed Congress leaders for giving contrarian statements on 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon’s death sentence, which was upheld by Supreme Court, saying it is “a cause of concern” and demanded that its president Sonia Gandhi¬† should explain to the country the party’s stand on this.
Jaitley also said that the evidence that the Gurdaspur attack was from across the border is “overwhelmingly conclusive”, but refused to say whether dialogue with Pakistan was still possible after this.
“That is a view the Government will take and the External Affairs Ministry will take. I would not like to comment on this. That is part of a diplomatic strategy. But, the evidence that it’s an attack from across the border now appears to be overwhelmingly conclusive,” he said, when asked if the disalogue with the neighbouring country was possible.
Attacking Congress, the Finance Minister said, “The irresponsible statements which have come from some Congress leaders with regard to the punishment given to the accused of the 1993 Mumbai blasts also raises a cause of concern.”
He said mainstream national parties are expected to react in a responsible manner and are not expected to show the country as a divided house.
“At least they should have spoken in one voice on an issue like national security. We expect the Congress will once again review its negative and irresponsible behaviour,” he said, adding, the party’s leadership has “failed the test”.
Jaitley expected Sonia Gandhi to clarify before the whole country as to why its party is not allowing a discussion in Parliament on the issue of national security, particularly in the wake of the Gurdaspur incident.
“…To explain how its leaders, some of whom have come out with contrarian statements with regard to the punishment given by the judicial process in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case,” he said.
Jaitley lamented that it was the country’s “misfortunate” that leaders of Congress were giving statements that were “politically motivated” on an incident like the 1993 Mumbai terror attacks, which is an important terror incident in which 257 persons lost their lives and several hundreds injured.
He said on a day when the whole country should have spoken in one voice and stood together, he said it was not expected of the principal opposition party to present India as a divided house.
Regrettably, instead of allowing a discussion and asking clarifications, Congress has chosen to disturb the proceedings in Parliament on account of its “own small and petty interests”, he said.
“We expect Sonia Gandhi to explain why Congress does not want a discussion in Parliament on the Gurdaspur terrorist incident. Does the party’s small and petty politics hold more importance than the country’s national security?”, he asked.
“Congress, instead of giving importance to national security, gave priority to its petty politics and prevented a discussion on the issue. It is clear that a serious issue like national security is not an issue of priority for Congress,” he said, adding that the opposition party prevented the people of India from knowing how their political leaders in Parliament react to such incidents.
Terming the cross-border terrorist attack at Gurdaspur as a “very serious incident”, he said when the Home Minister was to make a detailed statement in Rajya Sabha on it, it was extremely important for Parliament to discuss it.
“I feel today Congress had an opportunity to display responsible behaviour. It was an occasion when issues of national security are involved, they should have risen to a level of statesmanship. Regrettably, they have failed that test,” the Minister said.
Asked if he was hopeful of getting the tax reform legislation, the GST Bill, passed in Parliament, he said, it was Congress which had brought this law and the question should be posed to those obstructing it.
“Such questions should be posed to those trying to create such obstructions that cause loss to the national economy,” he said.
On Government’s strategy ahead in Parliament, he said it is for Congress to decide that if had to protest it almost spent two weeks in its “somewhat symbolic protest”.
“Therefore, it is about time that Parliament should be allowed to function,” the Minister said. (PTI)

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