The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Make war not peace, Togadia tells PM

Ahmedabad, Oct. 23: Firebrand VHP leader Praveen Togadia today slammed the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government’s latest efforts to revive the stalled peace process with Pakistan as an “abject surrender before a terrorist state”.

“Instead of making peace efforts”, the Prime Minister should prepare for war against “jihadi elements within India” and “declare a war against Pakistan”, he said, a day after the Centre announced several peace initiatives for resumption of bilateral relations.

Among the dozen conciliatory gestures that Delhi made yesterday were resumption of full cricketing ties between the neighbours and a proposal to start a bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Togadia, who described the government’s latest concessions to Pakistan as “an abject surrender before a terrorist state”, said India should work to build international pressure on Pakistan, which has been waging a proxy war for over two decades and was now targeting “our business establishment”.

The peace package was “all the more shocking”, he added, as it has come after the recent militant attack on the residence of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

The VHP leader warned that a bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad and the other proposed measures could prove disastrous and boost the morale of jihadi elements who have spread out across the country.

Togadia was not the only one who felt that transport links could spell danger. He was echoed by Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, who said “the proposal to resume transport linkages would give a boost to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism”.

The Sena, a key constituent of the Vajpayee government, slammed the peace moves, saying “ties between India and Pakistan should not be normalised when the neighbouring country is engaged in sponsoring terrorism in our country”.

Togadia also regretted that “we are giving medical treatment to their (Pakistani) children”. He wondered how India could offer to treat the children of an enemy country which is killing innocent Indians every day.

He reminded the Vajpayee government of the assurance it had given to the country while initiating a similar peace initiative some months ago. The government had then claimed it was the last peace offer from India and that India would close the door to any more concessions till Pakistan completely stopped cross-border terrorism, he said.

“Has a single day passed since then when Pak-sponsored terrorists have not claimed the lives of innocent civilians and brave Indian security personnel'” Togadia asked.

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