OTHERS

Centre must not extend ceasefire: VHP

BHUBANESWAR, MAY 20. The international vice-president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Acharya Giriraj Kishore, today said the Centre should not extend the unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir.

``The Government was extending the ceasefire due to lack of confidence on its part. Ceasefire takes place between two countries, but not with militants,'' the VHP leader said at a press conference here.

He charged that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government had not been able to contain ISI activities.

The BJP, though being the major NDA partner, was not able to take proper steps to curb ISI-backed terrorism ``due to political compulsions,'' Mr. Kishore said.

Though he did not utter a word against the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, on curbing terrorism, he charged that the BJP was ``compromising'' with the country's security and trying to stay in power at any cost. The BJP was not taking bold measures to stop cross-border terrorism as it was not getting full support from some of its allies, he said.

Expressing concern over the planting of bombs at the Red Fort, the South Block and the Sena Bhavan, he said this showed that the Government was not able to check ISI-sponsored terrorism.

Giving details of the damage caused by militants, arms and ammunitions seized, loss of lives of civilians and defence personnel and the huge amount of money spent to curb terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir during the past three years, Mr. Kishore said the Government should act tough.

The VHP leader expressed concern over the alleged supply of foreign funds to militant organisations through churches in the north-eastern States. The issue was under the investigation of the Central Government since 1996, and the Centre must come out with a white paper on the issue on the basis of the probe carried out so far.

He sought the enactment of a law by the Centre to ban conversions across the country. Ram temple

Reiterating that the VHP would start building the Ram temple at Ayodhya anytime after `Shiv Ratri' next year, the VHP leader maintained that there was no stay on the construction. The court stay was in regard to the controversial structure which had been demolished in December, 1992 and there was no other stay order in force at present, he said.

He urged the Centre to hand over to the VHP the land acquired after the demolition of the disputed structure. ``Even if the Centre did not hand over the land, the VHP will go ahead with the construction.''

Observing that the only case which was pending in the court was in connection with the demolition of the disputed structure, he said there was no need for the continuation of the Liberhan Commission since the same matter was pending in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. He is likely to appear before the Liberhan Commission shortly.

Mr. Kishore said the VHP would not announce the day on which construction of the Ram temple would begin. The construction material was getting ready at Ayodhya and Pindwara in Rajasthan and material for the ground floor of the temple was ready, he said.