NATIONAL

Al-Qaeda, ISI activities on the rise in Bangladesh: Advani

Bhiwani (Haryana) Nov. 7. The Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, today voiced serious concern over the growing activities of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and the Al-Qaeda in Bangladesh and asked the international community to treat the ISI at par with terrorist outfits like the Taliban.

``After the change of government in Bangladesh, there has been an increase in the activities of the Al-Qaeda and the ISI there,'' Mr. Advani said after inaugurating the 51st All India Police Games here.

Asked whether Dhaka's ``support to the militants'' was covert or overt, he said, ``Covert. All insurgent groups of the North-East are getting refuge there.''

Mr. Advani said while the international community had recognised the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as the fountainhead of terrorism, they were yet to acknowledge Pakistan's ISI as among the major sources of terrorism.

``This will cost them dear,'' he said, adding ``irrespective of foreign policy compulsions, one should not be supportive of terrorism anywhere in the world.'' ``There should be no room for leniency towards terrorists.''

Asked whether the Government had taken up the issue of insurgent groups and Al-Qaeda activities with Bangladesh, he said Dhaka had been told that these were areas they would have to think about seriously. He said the recent massacre in Assam was carried out by terrorists based in Bhutan. ``Bhutan was not supporting the insurgent groups though it was not taking enough action.''

Mr. Advani declined to comment on the controversy surrounding the ``encounter'' at Ansal Plaza in South Delhi, where two terrorists were killed.

On the decision of the new Government in Jammu and Kashmir not to use the POTA, he said, ``it is for the State Governments to decide. We feel it (the POTA) is necessary to contain terrorism''. However, if a ``State is able to do it without using the POTA, nothing like it.''

He recalled that a Marxist Chief Minister, who was initially opposed to using the National Security Act in his State, finally did so to check insurgency.

To a question, he said the BJP would win with a comfortable majority in Gujarat.

Earlier, inaugurating the police games at Bheem Stadium here, Mr. Advani said India was not dependent on the U.S. in its fight against terrorism. ``It is our problem and we are committed to win it on our strength.''

Quoting from a recent U.S. book, Breakdown, written by a journalist, he said Washington had received warnings prior to September 11 that if Taliban activities were not checked, it would become a victim, but the warning was not taken seriously enough.

Mr. Advani said during the days of terrorism in Punjab, it seemed as if normality would never return but due to the courageous actions of the Army, paramilitary forces and police, militancy was wiped out.

He said the Government would ``examine'' the Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala's request for a helicopter for the State police. Mr. Chautala, in his address, had agreed to bear half the expenses for the chopper, which he said would be used in preventing terrorist infiltration into Delhi.

Expressing satisfaction over India's performance at the recent Commonwealth and Busan Asian Games, Mr. Advani said the BJP-led NDA Government had set up the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs with a view to creating enthusiasm among university and college students. — PTI

Chautala's faux pas

Bhiwani (Haryana), Nov. 7. The late Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, was killed during Emergency and the Pentagon was blown up in the September 11 terror strikes in the United States.

Bloomers from answer sheets in some Public Service Commission examinations? No, it is Chautalaspeak.

People listening to the Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, particularly those in the Press gallery, were in splits as he mentioned these ``examples'' of terrorism in the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, at the inaugural function of the 51st All India Police Games here. — PTI

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