Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Jammu and Kashmir

Daily News 04 August 1998

In Jammu and Kashmir, 19 persons were gunned down by unidentified gunmen at village Seyala in Surenkote area of Poonch district in Jammu division early this morning. The victims are said to be surrendered militants and their close relatives. Senior civil and police officers have rushed to the spot. Further details are awaited. Only yesterday, 35 people were killed by militants in Chamba district of Himachal.

Meanwhile, one constable of Assam Rifles was killed at Goalpur in Poonch district today in shelling by Pak troops, which is continuing for the last five days.

A high level central team headed by Special Secretary (Home) has reached the site of yesterday's massacre in Chamba district for an on the spot assessment. Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal apprised the central team of the situation and later left for New Delhi to brief the Home Minister and other leaders.

Meanwhile, the security forces have launched a joint combing operation in the border area of Chamba and Doda district to nab terrorists. The Himachal Pradesh government has asked for more central forces in Chamba district. One hard core terrorist who was nabbed yesterday has been handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir police after interogation. The terrorist belongs to the military outfit Hizbul Mujahidin Ansari.

In the Rajya Sabha the Home Minister has said the government will soon convene a meeting of political parties to discuss the activities of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in the country. Mr L.K. Advani said this today while clarifying points raised by members about yesterday's massacre. He said, the proxy war by Pakistan will be defeated and assured the members that the steps being taken in this direction will yield full results.

The Congress has demanded the resignation of the Home Minister Mr L.K. Advani over the latest killings in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. Talking to newsmen in New Delhi today, senior party leader, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad said the spurt in militant killings is unprecedented and said the BJP-led government has miserably failed to contain militancy.

The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee today assured an agitated opposition in Lok Sabha that the government is taking firm steps to deal with terrorists. Responding to members' concern over yesterday's massacre of 35 people in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Vajpayee said the incident appeared to be pre-planned and committed with political motivation. The government, he asserted, would ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

Earlier, opposition members severely criticised the government for the increase in attacks by militants in Jammu and Kashmir and neighbouring states. Mr Rajesh Pilot, Congress expressed dissatisfaction over the statement of the Home Minister, Mr L K Advani and asked the government to come out with firm steps to deal with the situation. He said there is nothing new in Mr Advani's announcement for coordination among the security forces in the three states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and Punjab. What is needed is firm action, he said.