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Rajnath Singh, Bipin Rawat take tough line on Kashmir militants after BJP pulls the plug on PDP

Rajnath Singh warned terrorist groups against any misadventure in Jammu and Kashmir, which is under Governor’s rule after BJP ended its alliance with the PDP and Mehbooba Mufti resigned as chief minister

india Updated: Jun 20, 2018 20:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Rajnath Singh,Bipin Rawat,Kashmir
Home minister Rajnath Singh addresses a joint press conference in Lucknow on May 29.(AP File Photo)

Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday the government will not tolerate terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir any more and launch operations to flush out militants from the strife-torn state, a day after the BJP pulled out of the Peoples Democratic Party-led government citing growing incidences of terrorism.

“Elimination of terrorism and restoration of peace in Kashmir is our biggest target,” Singh said on the sidelines of an event at a private hospital in Lucknow.

Singh, who is a Lok Sabha member from Lucknow, also warned terrorist groups against any misadventure.

“Our security forces are ready to foil any such activity,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir was put under governor’s rule on Wednesday after the Bharatiya Janata Party ended its almost 40-month-old alliance with Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP, saying it had become impossible to continue in the government in view of the growing radicalism and terrorism in the state.

The end of the coalition came two days after the Centre decided to resume counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir that had been suspended for a month for Ramzan.

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said security forces had to end the unilateral ceasefire in the state because “terrorists” continued their attacks.

“Operations were being carried out earlier as well. Then we saw a phase of suspension of operations because we wanted people to get a chance to offer their prayers during Ramzan without any kind of problem. Despite that, terrorists continued with their activity, which is why the suspension of operations was cancelled,” he said.

Gen Rawat also said the change in the political scenario will not have any effect on security forces, who he said have never faced any restrictions on their work.

“We don’t have any kind of political interference,” Rawat said about governor’s rule.

Security forces have strict rules of engagement and “take action” in accordance with them, Rawat said.

Officials familiar with the developments have said the Centre will follow a hardline security-centric policy with the scaling up of counter-insurgency operations, especially in the four districts of south Kashmir — Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag and Pulwama — that have become the hotbed of militancy in the last two years.

Security for the Amarnath yatra was also a paramount concern when the government decided on Monday not to extend the month-long Ramzan halt on counter-insurgency operations.

“It was felt that without resuming operations against militants, the Amarnath yatra cannot be secured. Now, under the governor’s rule the security forces are expected to step up pressure against militants,” said a home ministry official on the condition of anonymity.

First Published: Jun 20, 2018 18:42 IST