Pakistan has constructed 40 military bunkers along the LoC since the cease-fire but this has not been unnoticed by the Indian Army, the Indian State Minister for Home S Ragupathy informed the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) on Wednesday.
Ragupathy told Lok Sabha that Pakistan had also built a dike in the area of Border Pilars No 61 to 64, ahead of “Dhamala Nala.” He said that India’s Border Security Force (BSF) had taken up the matter with Pakistan Rangers and had proposed a joint survey of the dike, but Pakistan had disagreed.
“Pakistani activities are being closely monitored and suitable measures are being adopted to deny them an advantage,” said Ragupathy in a written reply to Braja Kishore Tripathy and Adhalrao Patil. Queried over India setting up new posts along the border, Ragupathy relied, “Construction and improvement of defences, including setting up of new posts along the border, is an on-going process.”
Hurriyat: Replying to a query, another state Home minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, said that the Hurriyat Conference had “not responded positively so far” to “the government’s commitment to an unconditional dialogue with anyone and everyone in the state who eschews the path of violence” being stressed by the prime minister and home minister.
Fidayeen Attacks: Jaiswal also told an MP that fidayeen attacks on security installations and convoys in Jammu and Kashmir had decreased in 2004 as compared to 2003. There were 13 attacks during 2004 compared to 15 in 2003 and the number of security force personnel killed dropped from 53 to 29, civilian casualties declined from 7 to 4.
A total of 23 militants were killed in these attacks during 2004 as compared to 24 during 2003, said Jaiswal. He said that intelligence about militants’ infiltration from Pakistan and Bangladesh planning to carry out Fidayeen attack on security force camps, installations and VIPs had been received from time to time. In view of the changed threat perception, he added that security for vulnerable places and targeted VIPs was increased and advisories had been issued to state governments and organisations to increase security arrangements.
Property Purchase: Replying to another question, Jaiswal said that there had been two instances of Pakistani nationals purchasing land and property in Jammu and Kashmir. In the first case, a Pakistani national bought a plot of land in Jammu on a forged permanent residential certificate. His attempt to obtain Indian citizenship was foiled, a case was registered against him and the cash involved in the deal was seized. In the other case, another Pakistani national purchased a house in Jammu city to carry out subversive activities. He and his associates were arrested and a case was registered against them under POTA.
No Migration: Jaiswal denied BJP members Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Santosh Gangwar contention that a large number of the minority community (Hindus) were migrating from Jammu and Kashmir’s militancy-affected areas because of the withdrawal of para-military forces. He said that there had been no reports of migrations or people being threatened by militants nor were the para military forces withdrawing from the state. He also listed the various steps being taken for minorities’ security.
Pakistani Activities In Northeast: Replying to a question by BJP member Shivraj Chouhan, Ragupathy said that the government had seen a media report about Pakistan’s hand in “islamising” the Northeast but “there were no confirmation reports.”
About Chouhan’s contention that the Muslim population had increased in the North Eastern states because of Bangladeshi infiltration, Ragupathy said that the population of both Muslims and Hindus had increased in most of these states as recorded in the 2001 census when compared to the 1991 census. “The increase in population cannot be attributed entirely to infiltration,” said the minister, adding that all measures have been adopted to check infiltration.
Iraq Reconstruction: In a written reply, the state minister for External Affairs E Ahamed denied any fresh requests from the Iraqi envoy for assistance in the reconstruction efforts as previously reported in the Hindustan Times. Ahamed said that Iraqi authorities had earlier requested manpower training in various fields. He said the Indian government was assisting Iraq in human resource development by providing training in India to Iraqi officials in wide-ranging areas including diplomacy, information technology, industrial electronics and instrumentation, agro-industries, entrepreneurship development, management development, promotion of micro enterprises and industrial project preparation.