Centre favours peace in J&K, toughness with militants: Jaitley
Srinagar, May 19: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the government wanted peaceful lives for the ordinary people of Jammu and Kashmir, but asserted that the security forces will act “very tough” against the militants.
The Minister complimented the Indian Army for its preparedness, and said soldiers were confident not to allow infiltration from across the border, and to give an adequate response to ceasefire violations from across the Line of Control.
Jaitley, who arrived in Srinagar on Wednesday afternoon, reviewed security situation in the state.
He visited the Army’s forward positions on the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday. He later said that all security agencies were on high alert to deal with militants.
“We will go very tough on the militants, especially those who have crossed over from the other side (Pakistan), because they are responsible for the situation (in the Kashmir Valley),” he said.
He said the government’s priority was to “restore normalcy” and law and order in the Kashmir Valley.
“There is a section which will have to be dealt with by security measures and there is a section which will have to be dealt by with citizen-friendly measures,” he said.
“Terrorism and militancy are both aimed against the Indian state, its sovereignty and also against the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“Violence eventually impacts security and life of ordinary residents of the valley; therefore, the violence is not only against security forces but also against innocents who are losing their lives.”
The Minister said those who have taken to arms will not be spared.
“With an average citizen, irrespective of their political views, we’d like them to be on the Indian side in this debate. But as far as those who are killing people — we can’t extend the same facility to them. They will have to be treated as serious insurgency problem and dealt with accordingly,” he said.
“Those who have taken to violence of this magnitude will certainly be (held) accountable for their actions,” Jaitley said.
“It is a great opportunity for us to communicate to the people here that India as a country will show full concern and compassion as far as the average peace-loving citizen is concerned. We want you to have a peaceful and prosperous life.”
He said taking to violence only unleashed a “cycle of violence” and that the aspirations of the people can be addressed only when there is peace.
“There are public sentiments in every Indian state and these sentiment will have to be addressed; but at the and of the day… when you take to violence and start killing security forces and your own people, you unleash a cycle that does not stop,” the Defence Minister said.
“… resources meant for economic development are being used for (ensuring) security,” Jaitley said.
About his visit to the Line of Control in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, he said: “I compliment the Army for its preparedness and enthusiasm. Our soldiers are fully confident they will not allow any infiltration in those areas. And if there is any effort or any ceasefire violation, our soldiers will give adequate response.”
General Officer Commanding of the Baramulla-based Dagger Division, Major General R.P. Kalita accompanied Jaitley to the LoC.