The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Thackeray snub

New Delhi, Oct. 16: The BJP today distanced itself from Bal Thackeray’s call to Hindus to band themselves into suicide squads to counter Islamic fidayeens, saying that one form of terrorism could not be answered by another, reports our special correspondent.

Responding to an article by the Shiv Sena chief in his party’s mouthpiece, Saamna, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said: “We do believe terrorism has to be uprooted. But one kind of terrorism need not persuade us to believe another group can be an answer.”

In his article yesterday, Thackeray had written: “We would be able to meet the challenge (of terrorism) only if suicide squads are constituted or else they would attack any place and any time.”

Jaitley said the task of fighting and eliminating terrorism was to be left with the government. “We believe that India is firmly committed to a strong anti-terrorism line and is opposed to terrorism in all its forms. We believe that the government in the last two or three years has been fighting the menace of terrorism and insurgency in a systematic manner. It is fighting the ideology of terrorism, our security forces have established their supremacy over the terrorists, and we have mobilised strong international opinion against terrorism,” the BJP spokesman said.

Jaitley, however, admitted that sporadic incidents did take place when terrorists struck at “selected targets”. “While we appreciate the anxiety and anger of all Indians when such incidents take place, we believe that the systematic manner in which the government of India is moving is the real answer and whenever the government’s mechanisms (to counter terrorism) have to be strengthened, they will be,” he added.

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