Will look into security lapses of Amarnath yatra: Hansraj Ahir

Union Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Ahir, Wednesday said that the NDA government will look into security lapses that took place in Monday’s “terror strike in Anantnag’’ on the Amarnath yatris that left seven dead and 19 others injured.

Ahir said that the Central government is serious about the security situation that has erupted after the killing of  seven pilgrims who were part of the Amarnath yatra.

Addressing a press conference here in Srinagar, Ahir as well as Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh, reiterated that the Amarnath yatra will go on despite the militant attack. 

“The yatra will continue and we will make it a point that the safety and security of the pilgrims is ensured,” they said.  Ahir and Singh were in the state to meet Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, Governor NN Vohra and other government officials and review the security situation.

Lauding  the efforts of Mehbooba in handling the situation, Ahir said that the Centre was satisfied with the security provided for the annual yatra. He said that “as the attack had taken place at night,’’ the Central government will beef up the security in those hours.

While condemning the killing of women in the attack, Ahir noted that “everybody in the state and the country had denounced the killing.’’

Singh, who is an MP from Jammu’s Udhampur, appreciated the civil society’s efforts for handling the delicate situation well, noting that the Kashmiris have shown remarkable resilience in last 25 years of militancy.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was personally monitoring the situation. He claimed that militancy will be eradicated very soon. “We are in the last phase of militancy,” Singh added.

On the probe, Singh said, “No one should jump to any conclusion on the attack. Let us wait for the definite inferences and inputs to come from the security agencies.” Singh said that “supplementary” measures and hi-tech methods including use of warning gadgets were being discussed to secure the ongoing annual pilgrimage, which will conclude on 7 August.

“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 said.

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 and Jammu and Kashmir stands for,” said the Union Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“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.

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  Kashmir criticized 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 to conclusions and no political functionary, however highly placed, enjoys the prerogative to sit on judgment 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.

“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.


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