A day ahead of Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s three-day visit to India, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has targeted the neighbouring country for sponsoring and supporting terrorist and secessionist violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
Shinde informed a group of parliamentarians on Wednesday night that several terror outfits such as the Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), operating from across the border, were quite active in Jammu and Kashmir.
The issues, he said, were being addressed from the security point of view and also raised with Pakistan during bilateral engagements.
Shinde was chairing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Home Affairs here when he made these remarks, but the details were shared with the media only on Thursday.
Malik will be here on an official visit from Friday to Sunday when the two sides are expected to discuss a gamut of bilateral issues including terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
“The level of militancy, which was at its peak in the 1990s, started declining from 2003 and today it is at its lowest in terms of incidents as well as causalities of the civilians and security forces,” he said, adding this was made possible by the people’s yearning for peace and the security measures put in place to restrict infiltration from across the 750-km Line of Control.
Shinde further informed that HM and LeT “continued to be the dominant militant groups,” mostly operating in Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipore, Anantnag and Pulwama in Kashmir region and Poonch, Ramban and Rajouri in Jammu region.
“This issue is being addressed from the security point of view and also taken up diplomatically with Pakistan,” he said.
Shinde also noted that the state and central governments had adopted various counter measures to neutralise the efforts and capabilities of militants and others to disturb peace in the state by inciting the people towards violent agitations and protests against duly elected institutions and authority.
On Friday evening, Shinde is slated to meet Malik for official talks when India will press for handing over of LeT founder and 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafeez Saeed.
He will also ask Malik, who is coming with a 13-member delegation, to hand over the 50 wanted criminals and terrorists, including Dawood Ibrahim.