Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday justified the evacuation of border villages in Punjab after army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) last month, saying the government apprehended retaliation from Pakistan.
Speaking for the first time on evacuation orders, which turned into a political war game in the state, Rajnath said orders were issued as a precautionary step. “It appeared that Pakistan would react to surgical strikes. But kudos to our soldiers, who didn’t let it happen,” said the home minister while addressing the Regional Editors’ Conference here. The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had slammed the Union and Punjab governments of creating panic by evacuating villages along the Indo-Pak border.
READY TO HELP PAK ACT AGAINST TERRORISTS
Slamming Pakistan, Rajnath said the neighbouring country had adopted terrorism as its state policy and was harbouring terrorists, which is why it has been isolated not only in South Asia but across the globe. He said India was ready to help Pakistan weed out terrorists from its land and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).
He said the government would “completely secure” the border by December 2018. “Cameras, sensors, radars and lasers will be installed on over 180km stretch along the Indo-Pak border where physical barriers are not feasible. The Border Security Force is testing advanced gadgets to check infiltration in Jammu, Punjab and Gujarat.”
Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, Rajnath said the situation in Kashmir would soon return to normal.
Speaking on the occasion, Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi said the government would soon bring an anti-trafficking legislation in Parliament for rescue, relief and reintegration of trafficked persons.
On women’s safety, she said panic buttons would be installed on all cellphones from January 1, 2017. “The new phones will have this feature while the cellular companies will add it to the old phone sets,” she said.
Editors and senior journalists from Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Union Territory of Chandigarh and from North-eastern states are attending the two-day conference.