| Advani at the conference. (PTI)
New Delhi, Nov. 4: L.K. Advani today iterated that Pakistan should not interpret Delhi’s repeated offers of peace as a sign of weakness but as a desire to promote people-to-people contact.
The deputy Prime Minster was speaking after inaugurating a three-day conference of directors-general of police, organised by the Intelligence Bureau.
India, Advani said, had the strength and the determination to foil Islamabad’s campaign of cross-border terrorism. “Whether governments publicly acknowledge it or not, Pakistan is increasingly being seen as the epicentre of jihadi terrorism,” he said.
“Our repeated assertion that forces supportive of terrorism are receiving assistance and sanctuaries in Pakistan is receiving corroboration. An example of this is the recent declaration of Dawood Ibrahim, Karachi-based, as a specially designated global terrorist by the US treasury department,” Advani added.
Indian forces, he said, were gaining the upper hand on militants in Kashmir. According to Advani, more than 300 militants were killed in the state in the last two months and 183 Pakistan-sponsored terrorist modules busted since 1998; 21 this year alone.
The “tide is turning in Jammu and Kashmir”, he claimed, as evident “from the near absence of Kashmiris in militant tanzeems (outfits)”.
Advani went on to praise the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government’s confidence building measures, which he said the Centre had backed to restore normality to the state. In a bid to boost the process, the Centre, he emphasised, recently decided to hold direct talks with the Abbas Ansari-led moderate leaders of the Hurriyat Conference.
“I hope that they (the Hurriyat) bring to these talks a sincere, constructive and realistic approach, consistent with the intense desire of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to see an end to an era of violence,” Advani said. The talks are expected to begin after the holy month of Ramazan.
While praising the paramilitary and intelligence services for their role in fighting terrorism, Advani emphasised the need to step up action against Naxalites. He said the Centre was examining the feasibility of raising a unit of the Central Reserve Police Force for the purpose.
He cited the recent attack on Andhra Pradesh chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu near Tirupati — at a place far removed from known Naxalite strongholds — to point out the “disturbing possibility of a hiatus between threat and response”.
The problem cannot be solved through policing alone as Naxalites exploited development imbalances and conflicts to further their plans, Advani added. The country’s police, too, came in for praise, although tempered with criticism of their “public image” of “not being sensitive, responsive, cooperative and fair (which) has not materially changed in the last five decades”.
Delhi police were not spared over the recent rape of a Swiss diplomat. “To the public mind, no sophistry can absolve the police of responsibility in cases like the recent outrage at Siri Fort (auditorium) when a Swiss lady diplomat was put through a harrowing experience in the heart of a crowded area supposedly covered by numerous watchful police eyes,” Advani said.