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Consequences of Cease-Fire in Kashmir

Four days after the Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee, made a month-long, unilateral offer of cease-fire to all terrorist groups operating in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, the issue was discussed in India's Upper Hose of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha. The following is a verbatim replication of the synopsis of the discussion, as circulated by Parliament. It may, however, be noted that, the authoritative text that forms a part of Rajya Sabha, Official Reports, would be made available at a later date by the Rajya Sabha Secretrariat, soon after the Chairman, Rajya Sabha, examines the full text of the proceedings and gives his approval.

Rajya Sabha, Synopsis of Debates*, Thursday, November 23, 2000, Proceedings other than Questions and Answers

*This synopsis is not an authoritative record of the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha.

SHRI ADHIK SHIRODKAR, Shiv Sena: Yesterday, six truck drivers and cleaners were asked to come out of the trucks, they were made to stand in a line and they were gunned down. The other six members were wounded critically.

The Hon. Prime Minister had unilaterally suggested the ceasefire. The terrorist groups have rejected this ceasefire. The point is, this unilateral ceasefire was announced on the ground of religion, namely, Ramzan. Terrorists know no religion. Their religion is terrorism. So, are we going to suffer these terrorist activities in vain? It is high time that we withdrew this offer and tell them that we are prepared to show olive leaf, but if they are going to behave in this manner, we will be tough.

SHRI MD. SALIM, Communist Party of India (Marxist): Five truck drivers have been killed by the militants. But a message should not go that the Rajya Sabha is asking the Government to withdraw this unilateral ceasefire. We welcome the ceasefire. When they are killing people, what are our security people doing, what is the Home Minister doing and what are the other people doing? The ceasefire has not yet started. In spite of that, five poor truck drivers have been killed at random. I would like to know whether Rajya Sabha would have the opportunity of discussing it or not. The Government should come out with the report. We want to discuss it. The whole country should be one on this issue. The Government has declared its policy. The ceasefire is a welcome step.

THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, DR. MANMOHAN SINGH, Indian National Congress: We had all welcomed the hon. Prime Ministerís announcement of a unilateral ceasefire. At the same time, we had also expressed the views that we hoped this time the Government had taken all possible precautions that the militants would not take undue advantage of this ceasefire. It appears to me that something has been lacking and that is why the militants have taken advantage of that weakness to kill the Sikh truck drivers. We condemn that. We urge upon the Government that they must ensure adequate protection to all our citizens whether they belong to the minority or they belong to the majority. All of our citizens are entitled to the protection of the law.

SHRI S. S. AHLUWALIA, Bharatiya Janata Party: The brutal killings of six truck drivers yesterday is an unfortunate incident. We, all the people of India have welcomed the unilateral declaration of ceasefire. This is a good initiative. The House should strongly condemn this heinous massacre and take a decision to boost the morale of our Sikh and Kashmiri brethren living there. There is no question of withdrawing the ceasefire instead, the honíble Prime Minister should take steps for creation of a fearless Kashmir and encourage all the Indians who will be with him in this initiative.

SHRI SHARIEF-UD-DIN SHARIQ, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference: This state of affairs has been prevailing in Kashmir since last ten years and people are suffering. Such issues cannot be tackled by becoming sentimental. They want to provoke us by such acts to retaliate so that India is disintegrated. These insurgents have no religion and they have no right to live and everything should be done to eliminate them. The importance of the declaration of ceasefire by the honíble Prime Minister cannot be minimized but this doesnít mean that if somebody kills us, we allow them to live. I think that the ceasefire means that we want to solve the issue through dialogue and not through bullets. This incident should be condemned in strongest terms.

SHRI J. CHITHARANJAN, Communist Party of India: I join the other Members of this House in condemning the barbarous attack by the militants. But, at the same time, such provocations by the militants should not be used as a excuse to demand the withdrawal of unilateral ceasefire declared by our Government. My party and I welcome the declaration of the unilateral ceasefire. But, at the same time, it does not mean that the militants shall be allowed to have a free hand inside Kashmir. The Ministry of Home Affairs should see that enough precautions are taken so that such incident donít occur in future.

DR. ALLADI P. RAJKUMAR, Telugu Desam Party: I congratulate the honíble Prime Minister for declaration of ceasefire in view of the coming Ramzan. Our party condemns the killing of innocent truck drivers in Kashmir after 24 hours of declaration of ceasefire. The terrorists have no religion. I would request the honíble Prime Minister to call an all party meeting particularly a meeting of MPs from Kashmir to consider this matter and it would be appreciated if he makes a statement to the people of the country in this regard.

PROF. RAM DEO BHANDARY, Rashtriya Janata Dal: I welcome the unilateral declaration of ceasefire by the honíble Prime Minister. In spite of that 5 truck drivers have been brutally murdered by the militants. I, on behalf of Rashtriya Janata Dal condemn this incident. I would request the honíble Prime Minister and the Government to ensure foolproof security arrangements for the innocent citizens there. The killing of innocent citizens must be stopped in Jammu and Kashmir.

SHRI R.S. GAVAI, Republican Party of India: I, on behalf of my party welcome the declaration of ceasefire by the honíble Prime Minister on the occasion of Ramzan but condemn the brutal killings that took place after that. Whenever we talk of peace, the militants increase their activities. Ours is a secular country. The Hindus in Jammu and Buddhists in Laddakh are insecure and Government would have to think about their safety.

SHRI RAJEEV SHUKLA, Akhil Bharatiya Loktantrik Congress: I condemn the incident that took place yesterday. But I am not in favour of withdrawal of this temporary ceasefire at all, specially after this incident. I think it a good gesture on part of the Government. We should not hope that ISI or Pakistan will accept this ceasefire rather they would try to foil this attempt.

Secondly, the declaration of ceasefire by the Government has not taken our right to retaliate in case of attack by the militants. Our forces are fully alert for repulsing their attack. This ceasefire means that no offensive would be launched from our side during this period. Therefore, the ceasefire should not be withdrawn.

SHRI S. VIDUTHALAI VIRUMBI, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam: In this morning newspapers, very disturbing news has appeared that five Sikhs and one Hindu were murdered.

Pakistan is indulging in several activities in different way in different areas to destabilize the democracy in our country. A message should go to Pakistan that we may differ with each other on internal issues of our country, but, as far as the unity and integrity of the country is concerned, forgetting our differences, we all are with our Government, and we warn them of dire consequences if they pursue it any more. Our call to the extremists is that they must give up terrorism, and come out to resolve all the issue within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

SHRI N.K. PREMACHANDRAN, Revolutionary Socialist Party: The Government of India has taken a diplomatic approach in declaring the ceasefire only because of the Holy Ramazan and its belief in it but they are terrorists and militants, who have no faith and no religions. So, in no way will ceasefire help the terrorists to stop the killing of innocent people in the Valley. I would also urge the Government to pay adequate compensation to the dependents of the deceased.

SHRI JANESHWAR MISHRA, Samajwadi Party: Government has given the proof of its goodness but after the declaration of ceasefire, ten times vigilance and action is required than it is needed during operation. Whether Central Administration and Jammu and Kashmir administration had accelerated the speed of action and vigilance accordingly? If not, then we can not stop such events.

SHRI KULDIP NAYYAR, Nominated: It really goes to the credit of the Prime Minister that he has initiated the ceasefire and all those people who really want something to happen in Kashmir and also between the two countries should support the ceasefire.

As far as terrorists are concerned, the more we condemn them in all possible terms, the better it would be.

SHRI R. MARGABANDU, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam: Hon. Prime Minister had announced this unilateral ceasefire with good intention but there is no reciprocity. What steps is the Government going to take to curtail all these terrorists?

SHRI RAJIV RANJAN SINGH 'LALAN', Samata Party: While condemning the killings of Sikhs in Kashmir yesterday. I with my party appreciate the announcement of unilateral ceasefire announced by Hon'ble Prime Minister. He has given this message to the whole world that we don't want violence in Jammu and Kashmir, we want to solve this problem through negotiations.

SHRI PRAFUL PATEL, Nationalist Congress Party: We welcome the unilateral ceasefire announcement made by the Prime Minister but the cruel act of killings of some Sikh brothers is really very heinous. While condemning the yesterday's event, I feel that we take more precautions so that it does not reoccur.

The Problem can only be solved through negotiations but if terrorism pops up its head, Government should not hesitate in crushing it.

SHRI S. PETER ALPHONSE, Tamil Manila Congress (Moopanar): The announcement of ceasefire is a declaration to the entire nation and to the entire globe about our magnanimity and our desire for peace. But we feel that before making these announcements, the Government should have identified the soft targets where, the militants would be there to attack the genuine innocent people.

SHRI B.J. PANDA, Biju Janata Dal: I congratulate the Prime Minister for his initiative. By coming out with the unilateral offer, during the month of Ramazan his gesture is not only principled but extremely well-timed to convey the sincerity of our approach.

LEADER OF THE HOUSE (SHRI JASWANT SINGH): The Government has clearly announced that the Government shall not initiate any armed action. Government will not back out from its responsibility. This challenge is unprecedented in itself. Today very small percentage of Indian Citizens are living in the valley. More than 70% of them are not citizens of India. Many prisoners from Pakistan are being released and incentives like acquittal and reward are given to them for doing such and such thing in India. The instructions of opposition leader that Government should be more alert is accepted and certainly Government will try its best to see that these kind of events happen to the minimum. This Government is committed to expanding the constitutuency of peace but I want to assure my friends from Shiv Sena that the Government will be unforgiving of any such reactions.

Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir is sick of the perpetuation of violence that is externally abetted and aided. It is our commitment, as Government, to pursue, the path of peace and to defeat them.

THE PRIME MINISTER (SHRI ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE): replying to the points raised by the honíble Members said: The step of ceasefire has been taken to change the situation there and to strengthen the peace spirit emerging there. It doesn't mean any carelessness on the part of our security forces. This type of incident was apprehended and therefore, security forces were sounded earlier. This incident is very unfortunate. The terrorists came in army dress what is their old fashion.

Journey to Lahore was also a same step which the whole world now accepts as a milestone in the direction of peace that Pakistan did not accept. I do not see threat from the terrorists but I do have a grudge from those who are demanding to withdraw ceasefire. No question of withdrawing, we will try to make it a success and will enhance vigilance. We have got wide support in the House except a single voice. I hope that we will achieve success in our peace efforts with the major support by the people of the country.

Prime Minister's Statement on Cessation of Security Force Operations in Jammu and Kashmir: November 19, 2000

Response to India's offer of cease-fire

Ramadan Cease-fire: Casualties





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