Union minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday complimented the Kashmiri people for condemning the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims, saying it had restored the faith in the composite culture of Kashmir and vindicated everything the country and the state stand for. He also said “supplementary” measures and hi-tech methods such as the use of warning gadgets were being discussed to secure the ongoing annual pilgrimage, which will conclude on August 7. “I have to congratulate the civil society, the people of Kashmir, in fact the people of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, for the kind of resilience and discipline they have maintained over the last 25 years,” he told reporters here.
Singh said there were certain elements, which “look forward to fish in the troubled waters of Jhelum with the hope that something goes wrong”, and added that the civil society had proved every mischief wrong. “They have vindicated our faith in everything that India stands for, Jammu and Kashmir stands for,” said the Union Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
He added that the people of the Valley deserved to be complimented for the way they came out to condemn the terror attack on the pilgrims. “People have come forward not only to denounce this (the attack), but also with a very aggressive plea that such incidents should not be allowed to take place in the future and the guilty should be brought to book. This is something which was perhaps not very visible for quite some time,” said Singh.
Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when their bus came under terrorists’ gunfire in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday night. Singh said earlier, there were complaints that while denouncing the acts of violence, there was a tendency of “selective condemnation”, but this time, the way the people of the Valley criticised the terror attack, it would “restore the faith of the world” in the composite culture of Kashmir.
“Certain acts of violence were vociferously condemned, while some others were apologetically condemned. But, this is one incident which has vindicated us,” said the BJP leader. He added that this time, there were no apologies in condemning the attack and the people of the Valley were also keen that the guilty were brought to book.
Terming the United Jihad Council (UJC)’s condemnation of the attack as “healthy”, Singh said one “good thing which came out of the attack” was that nobody was “apologetic” while denouncing it.
He also asserted that the government would “take a lesson” from the terror attack. “The incident of course will be looked into by the security forces. We have to leave it to the wisdom of the security forces and experts, instead of jumping into conclusions and no political functionary, however highly placed, enjoys the prerogative to sit on judgement on security-related matters,” said Singh.
Stating that the investigating agencies would look into “all the aspects”, the Union minister said the last word must come from the experts in the field of security. “Let us wait for the inferences to come from the security agencies and it is our responsibility to carry that forward. We will find answers and learn from this incident,” he added.
Singh said “supplementary” measures and hi-tech methods such as the use of warning gadgets were being discussed to secure the ongoing 40-day pilgrimage. Asked if terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was behind the attack, he said it had been confirmed by the security agencies, but the investigation was still on. “The investigation is going on and the information available with you (LeT’s involvement in the attack) has been confirmed by the security agencies,” he added.
The Union minister complimented the security agencies and the Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police (DGP) for identifying the mastermind of the attack within a few hours. He said whenever an untoward incident took place in Kashmir, it echoed across the country. “That is the kind of sensitivity with which every citizen of India looks up to Kashmir and therefore, it is not unbecoming that whenever an incident like this happens, there is a huge surge of emotion all over the country,” he added.
Singh said the prime minister kept himself abreast of the entire sequence of events after the attack and personally intervened to ensure that the bodies of the deceased and the injured were airlifted. “The (Union) home minister is monitoring the developments and we are here at the behest of the Government of India,” he added.
Singh asserted that the incident had not created any fear among the pilgrims or dampened their spirit. “The morale of the people, the civil society, not only here but across the country, is so high that even after this incident, the pilgrims are insistent that the yatra should not be suspended even for a single moment,” he said.
Asked about Congress leader Karan Singh’s statement that Governor’s Rule should be imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said it should be left to the discretion of the home ministry. “Anybody saying anything may have a view, but there are certain mechanisms in place, which have the prerogative to take certain decisions,” he added.