Defence, Home Secys in Kashmir
KT NEWS SERVICE
SRINAGAR, Apr 2: Union home secretary, Madhukar Gupta and defence secretary, Vijay Singh arrived here today.
They are scheduled to attend a high level security meeting tomorrow morning. Besides chief minister Omar Abdullah, heads of various security and intelligence agencies and police chief will take part in the meeting, official sources said.
Gupta and Singh are here to monitor the situation in view of the Lok Sabha elections and particularly after the increase in encounters along LoC and hinterland. The incidents led to the killing of nearly two dozen militants and eight army personnel including an officer.
Following the infiltration attempts along LoC the army has been put on extra alert. Same is the case with security forces involved in counter insurgency operations.
Security has been beefed up following reports that militants will attempt to disrupt the polls and attack the mainstream political leaders.
Sources said the incidents like Bomai and Khaigam in which civilians were killed in security forces firing are also likely to figure during tomorrow's meeting.
A local news agency PBI said the meeting was actually scheduled for today but was postponed till tomorrow as the home and defence secretaries reached late. KTNS from New Delhi:Admitting that security scenario in South Asia has worsened and may affect India, Home Minister P. Chidambaram here on Thursday assured that there was no need for any panic and underlined that the government was taking all measures to ensure peaceful general elections. He said security and inclusive growth were real issues before the country electing 15th Lok Sabha.
"There is no need for any panic. There is no need for any alarm. Our levels of preparedness have gone up substantially," Chidambaram told reporters at the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi. He said enough security forces have been deployed in the run-up to the elections.Chidambaram last week cautioned 40 VVIPs, including leaders of political parties and chief ministers, to take all precautions while campaigning and specifically detailed a list of dos and don'ts while venturing out during electioneering.
Leaders on the radar of various terror groups include BJP leader L.K. Advani, AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, union ministers Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony and the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal.
Chidambaram linked the terrorist threat in India to the deteriorating security situation in South Asia, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to a lesser extent, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. "We have be on our guard," he said, urging the media to separate the wheat from the chaff and focus on real issues like coastal security, communal harmony and peace. He was commenting on a news report that some 20 terrorists some trailed in flying aeroplanes have infiltrated into the country. Reports had said that some fidayeen (suicide bombers) would try to conduct an air strike by hijacking a plane.
He, however, underlined need for unity to fight terrorism. "A country divided on religious and caste lines couldn't fight terrorism. We need to vanquish the communal agenda if you want to vanquish terror," he said taking a dig at rival BJP for its Hindutva agenda and supporting Varun Gandhi.
Earlier in the day Chidambaram called on Advani at his residence, in deference to his "age and seniority" to brief him on intelligence alerts about political leaders being targeted by terrorist groups during campaigning.This heightened activity among terror outfits across the border suggests that the broad idea is to disrupt elections by targeting leaders and carrying out major terror attacks.
He ruled out any specific threat from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the elections but added that both Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been alerted.On Varun Gandhi, Chidambaram said :"It is shameful that such a person has been given ticket. The CD is the primary evidence. Whether it's doctored or not it will come out during investigations."Sounding hopeful that after the elections, the Central government will be formed by secular forces, Chidambaram said all major parties were fighting communal forces and would come together after polls. Left is also fighting against communalism in some states. We are fighting communalism in all the states," he said.Reacting seriously to Advani's demand that the government make serious efforts to bring back black money deposited by Indians abroad, Chidambaram said the matter was being pursued diligently. He said the government had not only taken up the matter with Germany but had also informed him (Advani) about the steps taken.Referring to Advani's concerns over other tax havens, Chidambaram, said the finance ministry had taken up the issue with the Federal Central Tax Office, Bonn, in February last year and the matter was pursued diligently since then. "I understand that the matter continues to be pursued diligently by the ministry of finance with the German authorities," he added.
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