Blaming Masood Azhar’s Jaish-e-Mohammad for the attack on the Sunjuwan military station in Jammu and warning Pakistan that it “will pay for this misadventure”, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said “the demography of the cantonment and adjoining areas indicates the possibility of local support to the terrorists”.
“All evidences which have been collected are now being compiled and, definitely, these will be given, as always, to Pakistan. Yet Pakistan, in spite of being given dossier after dossier, has not taken any action,” Sitharaman told reporters in Jammu. “On the contrary, we find that people who were directly responsible for the Mumbai attack and many others, particularly Mumbai attack, are free, and are happily roaming in Pakistan,” she said. Also Read: Paris terror meet set to turn screws on Pakistan over funding of militants
“The terrorists belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammad tanzeem, sponsored by Azhar Masood, residing in Pakistan and deriving support from therein. The terrorists had chosen to attack a military station which housed both troops and families of the Indian Army. The cantonment is located on the outskirts of Jammu, approximately 30 km from the International Boundary, in a semi-urbanised environment with densely populated civilian localities, adjacent to the cantonment’s perimeter fence,” she said.
While Sitharaman did not elaborate on “the demography of the cantonment” and “the possibility of local support to the terrorists”, her party MLA and J&K Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta, speaking a few hours after the terrorists entered the military station on February 10, had named migrants from two countries, holding them responsible for such attacks — his remarks on the communities and countries were expunged later.
The Defence Minister said “we will be providing evidence to prove that the handlers are back in Pakistan and they are the mastermind, influencing all this”. When a reporter asked her what purpose would a dossier serve given that Pakistan had not acted on previous dossiers, she said: “That does not deny us our right to respond adequately and at a time we think fit. I state that Pakistan will pay for this misadventure.” Also Read: Security in J&K: In review meeting, Rajnath Singh advises caution
Asked whether there was a timeframe, she said: “I wouldn’t certainly state the timeline. But as I already said, Pakistan will pay for this misadventure. I repeat, Pakistan will pay for it.” On the FIR against Major Aditya Kumar in connection with the death of civilians in firing by troops in Shopian, Sitharaman said the Supreme Court had stayed proceedings. And if in the call of duty, if they have performed something, subject to verification, the Ministry of Defence, she said, will also have to respond to the registry of the court.
“Ministry of Defence, me as Raksha Mantri, the Government of India under the leadership of our Prime Minister will stand by the Army. We will not let anybody down,” she said, when she was told that the FIR was registered against the troops only after the Chief Minister had spoken to her. “We are in Jammu and Kashmir, in a situation where there is an elected government led by the Honourable Chief Minister. And we from Delhi, the Government of India, will have to work together to make sure that the Army is taken care of because they are fighting a very, very severe struggle,” she said.
Pakistan, she said, was expanding the arc of terror to areas south of the Pir Panjal ranges and resorting to ceasefire violations to assist infiltration. These were being responded appropriately, she said.