Statement by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani in the Lok Sabha, on the November 24, 2002-Terrorist Attack on Raghunath Temple, Jammu, November 25, 2002
Terrorist groups being mentored from across the International Border/Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir have struck once again -- this time on the famous Raghunath Temple of Jammu. These terrorists have demonstrated their total lack of concern for the overwhelming yearning for peace demonstrated by the people of Jammu and Kashmir when they braved violence and exercised their right of vote in the recent Legislative Assembly elections. The terrorists have simultaneously shown their disdain for international opinion and the efforts of various countries which have been trying to apply moral and diplomatic pressure to end cross-border terrorism in India.
In the last three days, there have been a series of attacks by terrorists, chief among which were a suicidal attack in CRPF camp at Pamposh Hotel Complex, Srinagar on 22nd November and targeting the Jammu-bound Army convoy through an IED near Jawahar Tunnel on 23rd November. These and the present attack on Raghunath Temple makes one speculate whether it is a mere coincidence that this spate of terrorist incidents has occurred just when the process of Government formation has been completed in Pakistan. The spurt of violence also follows the release by Government of Pakistan of the Chief of LeT, Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed. After his release, he vowed to continue the "Jehad" in Jammu and Kashmir and gave a public call to step up terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
Monitoring of the communication network of terrorists indicates that the Jammu attack is the handiwork of Al Mansooran which is a cover organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The present incident has been aimed at innocent civilians at a public place of worship. Earlier in March this year also, the terrorists had carried out an attack on the Temple in which five persons were killed. The three terrorists responsible for that assault were also eliminated.
According to reports, late on Sunday evening two terrorists appeared at Raghunath Mandir Chowk Jammu. One of them forced entry into the Mandir Complex and hurled grenades thereby creating panic in the area. People started running helter skelter. Taking advantage of the situation, the terrorists mingled with the crowd and entered Raghunath Mandir. When confronted by a CRPF constable, the terrorists opened indiscriminate fire killing him on the spot and causing casualties to a number of others including civilians. However, the Pujaris managed to close the sanctum sanctorum forcing one of the terrorists to take shelter on the periphery of the sanctum sanctorum. CRPF personnel guarding the temple laid a cordon to prevent the escape of this terrorist. The operation at Raghunath Temple had culminated with the elimination of the terrorist hiding in the Mandir late on 24th November evening.
At the same time, the second terrorist escaped in the melee towards Panjbakhter Road, opened fire and lobbed grenades. This place is located just a few hundred meters away from Raghunath Temple where another Shiv Mandir called Rupaya Wala Mandir is located. Alert JKP personnel closed the doors of the Shiv Temple preventing entry of the terrorist. The terrorist resorted to firing from a congested area adjoining this Shiv Mandir. The area was then cordoned off and this terrorist was killed this morning (25th November).
The State Government has intimated that at the time of the earlier terrorist attack on the Raghunath Mandir in March, 2002, the complex was guarded by 2/8 Guard of SSB personnel besides local police for frisking etc., which was subsequently replaced by one Platoon of CRPF. This was further augmented by deploying one section each of CRPF at Raghunath Chowk and Hari Market entry points of the temple. In addition, local police are deployed also at various check points in and around the temple.
In this terrorist attack on 24th November, 12 persons including one policeman, one CRPf jawan and one militant were killed. Around 52 persons sustained injuries. One more injury to a Deputy SP occurred in the Shiv Mandir incident today (25th November) when the second terrorist was killed.
Today (25th November) morning, His Excellency the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, the Hon. Chief Minister accompanied by the Deputy Chief Minister and senior officers visited the encounter site and the hospital and took stock of the situation. The Hon. Chief Minister also took a meeting with senior police officials yesterday to take further measures for strengthening security in the State particularly in the Jammu region. A meeting of prominent citizens is also being held by the Hon. Chief Minister at Jammu to seek co-operation of people in fighting terrorism in the State.
As a precautionary measure curfew has been imposed in Jammu town.
Government has also sent a team including Shri I.D.Swami, Minister of State for Home and Director General, CRPF to Jammu today.
The above incident is part of a deliberate design to create a communal divide in J&K. The people of the State, we are sure, will defeat these designs.
Government remains committed to provide all assistance to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir in its fight against terrorism.
May I ask all Members of the House to join me in strongly condemning the incident and those responsible for it and also in offering condolences to the families of those killed in the incident and in reiterating the country’s resolve to take all possible steps to combat and to defeat the scourge of cross-border terrorism in all its forms.
(Reply by the Deputy Prime Minister to clarifications sought by the Members):
This House has more often discussed the issue of terrorism. On the whole, the statements made here have been constructive. The recent incident is yet another manifestation of cross border terrorism and Pakistan is solely responsible for it. Condolence has been conveyed to the bereaved family members of those killed and injured in the incident. One Muslim citizen has also been killed and 7-8 Muslims were injured. Most of the people have been injured by the grenade splinters.
I do agree with the contention of one of the hon. Members who has emphatically said that the accountability to combat cross-border terrorism lies squarely and primarily on the Centre. The whole House has resolved to check terrorism and in order to bring shape to this resolution, I would definitely expect the State Government to consult the Centre before taking any significant decision in this connection. I have repeatedly said that every State Government enjoys a specific jurisdiction. I would not like to come in the way of any State Government in exercising its powers enumerated under that jurisdiction. It was said that every decision was taken after having proper consultations with the Centre. The only information which we have received was that before releasing the detenues, the intelligence agency was consulted, and not the Government or the Minister. I would like to make it clear that the Union Government was not at all consulted in this regard. On the eve of releasing the detenues, the Home Secretary wrote a letter to the State Government insisting that such decisions should not be taken in a hurry and if at all, should be taken after proper consultation.
The whole world has been unanimously condemning terrorism. But they have identified Al-Quaida and Taliban as the sources of spreading terrorism in the world. But ironically the world community is betraying its ignorance in identifying the ISI as the fountainhead of terrorism.
There is a wide spread misnotion that India determines its policy under the pressure of foreign countries. I am of the opinion that India will have to successfully conquer the scourge of terrorism on this own, yet, the world opinion generated amongst the comity of nations plays an important role. This is true that whereas Pakistan has been exporting terrorism, she has been receiving economic assistance from Western nations which is used and channelised to spread terror against our country. We have always endeavoured to lay stress on this grave danger which has put democracy in a jeopardy. That is why, we have constituted joint working groups with England, France and Germany and also signed extradition treaties with them. Besides this, we have also signed a joint legal action treaty with them. The success we have so far achieved by dint of the sacrifices made by our security forces and the cooperation received from the general public is no mean achievement.
Two years ago, Pakistan was too arrogant to concede that there was the incidence of infiltration from its borders. But since 11th of September and more particularly after the 13th December attack on our Parliament, international pressure began mounting on Pakistan forcing it to publicly announce not only once but twice that it would not allow its territory to be used as a platform of exporting terrorism and also that it would effectively try to check infiltration. The Indian response to the world community was that we welcome what has been said by Pakistan but we are not going to believe their words unless and until we are satisfied by their action on the ground. Even today, there has been no let up in spreading violence and terrorism in India from their side. The Chief of Lashkar-e-Toiba who has been recently released in Pakistan has openly given a clarion call to intensify terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. I can only say that given the resolve, the unanimity and the unity existing across the length and breadth of the country on this issue, I am sure that we will not only emerge victorious in combating terrorism but we will also successfully overcome the proxy war perpetrated on us for the last 15 years.