NEW DELHI -- India is demanding that the United
swiftly against a 'jehadist' group that has claimed responsibility
Monday's suicide attacks in Srinagar city, which devastated the
state assembly building and left 39 people dead.
''There are credible links between Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of
which claimed responsibility for the attack) and the Al-Qaida
Osama bin Laden,'' said Omar Abdullah, India's junior minister for
affairs and son of Farooq Abdullah, elected chief minister of the
Indian-held part of disputed Kashmir.
Omar Abdullah said India's intelligence agencies have documents
by Bin Laden, suspected of ordering the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks
York and Washington, and Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of the
Indian Home Minister L. K. Advani, second from right, with Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, left, and G. C. Saxena, governor of India's troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, walk outside the Legislative Council building in Srinagar, India, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2001. Advani visited the Legislative Assembly complex which was gutted down after suicide bombers exploded a car on Monday, claiming thirty-nine lives. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Azhar, a Pakistani national, was released from prison in
Indian authorities in exchange for an Indian Airlines plane with
passengers and crew on board, which was hijacked to Kandahar in
in December 1999.
According to Omar Abdullah, the presence of 'jehadist' fighters
many 16 Islamic countries in Kashmir was proof enough that
operating in the state had links with the Al-Qaida which U.S.
George W Bush has vowed to dismantle.
On Monday, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh delivered a
Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Bush saying there
''understandable anger'' in India at the suicide attack in
According to police reports, three armed militants crashed
barricades set up in front of the state assembly complex in a car
with explosives, which they set off using a remote device. They
then set a
part of the complex ablaze before being killed by security forces.
''It (the attack) comes a day after (Pakistan President Pervez)
Musharraf announced that no terrorist groups were operating from
Pakistan,'' Vajpayee complained in his letter, a copy of which was
available to newspersons here.
Vajpayee's statement may well reflect his right-wing Bharatiya
Party (BJP) government's keenness to forge closer relations with
States. Moreover, his call for U.S. action against Kashmiri
Jaish-e-Mohammed comes in the weeks after the Sep. 11 attacks,
Washington is trying to build a coalition against Bin Laden's
to which New Delhi has given its full support.
During the Cold War years, Washington maintained close
Pakistan, which contests the possession of Kashmir and has fought
wars with India over it.
''Incidents of this kind raise questions for our security which
democratically elected leader of India, I have to address in our
national interest. Pakistan must understand there is a limit to
patience of the people of India,'' Vajpayee warned in the letter.
Pakistan's military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, has said there is
distinction between ''freedom fighters seeking self-
Kashmir and terrorist organizations.
Vajpayee was among the first world leaders who offered
to U.S. forces now preparing to strike at Osama bin Laden's bases
Afghanistan, but he has so far received no assurance in return
Washington was prepared to take on 'jehadist' groups operating in
Instead, the United States has looked to Pakistan, its long-
that served as
frontline state during the eighties when Washington financed a
successful covert action against Soviet troops stationed in
Separatist political groups in Kashmir, led by the All-Party
Conference (APHC), have condemned this week's suicide attacks but
would continue unless ''the issue of Kashmir was solved
''This will lead to peace and stability not only in India and
but also in Jammu and Kashmir,'' said a statement released by the
which represents a dozen different groups based in Srinagar.
''Now that a thinking is developing world over to address the
causes of violence, India should also give up its hardline
attitude and try
to resolve the Kashmir issue,'' the APHC statement further said.
But India has shown no sign of relenting and last week ordered
nationwide crackdown on the Students Islamic Movement of India
that it had links with the Al-Qaida and with the fundamentalist
rulers of Afghanistan.
India's home minister, Lal Krishna Advani, said a crackdown of
the SIMI and
the arrest of hundreds of its workers was in the offing well
before the Sep.
Advani was confident that the U.S. led war on terrorism would
get to 'jehadist' camps located in Pakistan which, according to
provide arms and training to militants in Kashmir.
''Phase two will include operations against cross-border
Kashmir,'' Advani told reporters.
Pakistan has consistently denied arming or militarily
militants, but says it provides only moral and diplomatic backing
bloody insurgency which has claimed some 50,000 lives since it
12 years ago.
''Even if India does not play a large role, we would like to
battle against terrorism getting fortified by the developments. We
lend moral, diplomatic and logistics support to the U.S.-led
against terrorism,'' Advani said.
Copyright 2001 IPS - Inter Press Service