Note ban has starved Maoists of funds, says Arun Jaitley

Firm on ending Jammu and Kashmir militancy

August 20, 2017 05:05 pm | Updated 11:10 pm IST - Mumbai

Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley addresses a press conference in New Delhi. File

Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley addresses a press conference in New Delhi. File

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said security forces, with their resolute action, had established dominance over terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, and the Centre was firm that armed militancy must end there.

He added that demonetisation left Maoists and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir “fund starved”, and it has greatly reduced the number of protesters taking part in stone-pelting in the border State.

“Stone-pelters used to gather in thousands on the streets of Kashmir before demonetisation was announced, but now not even 25 come together for such agitations. After demonetisation, separatists in Jammu and Kashmir and also Maoists in States like Chhattisgarh have become fund-starved,” said Mr. Jaitley. He was speaking at a function organised by Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar. Mr. Jaitley said the Kashmir issue had become complicated because of cross-border and local support to terrorists.

“The Kashmir issue had become complicated because of cross-border support (to terrorism) and (also) our own groups supporting the armed militants. Mass civil protests were seen in the form of stone-pelting and sometimes this was used to help terrorists escape,” the Minister said.

Mr Jaitley criticised the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government, saying it had no firm policy to solve the decades-old Kashmir issue. “The earlier government did not solve the Kashmir issue then what right do they have to question us? There was a leadership which was not taking action and only finding excuses to delay taking any decision,” he alleged.

Domination of forces

The Modi government was firm in its conviction that armed militancy in the state bordering Pakistan must end, Mr. Jaitley said. “Today, a time has come where all forces — local police, central forces and the Army — are dominating terrorists. There is a clarity in our decision and stand that the armed military has to be ended,” he said.

Elaborating on benefits of demonetisation, Mr. Jaitley said money which was earlier getting circulated outside the economy had come into the formal banking system.

On the BJP’s vision of building a ‘New India’, he said, “We want to spend funds on defence, rural development and infrastructure. We should have world-class public institutions so that shameful incidents such as the Gorakhpur tragedy do not recur,” he said.

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