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HVK Archives: f Govt decides to send a recommendation on Bihar, it can do it (Interview of L.K.Advani)

f Govt decides to send a recommendation on Bihar, it can do it (Interview of L.K.Advani) - The Indian Express

Ajay Suri ()
October 19, 1998

Title: f Govt decides to send a recommendation on Bihar, it can do it (Interview of L.K.Advani)
Author: Ajay Suri
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: October 19, 1998

He may be known more for his tough posturing and hard-hitting
approach, but that is not all to Union Home Minister L.K. Advani.
He makes no bones about the dangers awaiting the Kashmir Pandits
should they decide to the Valley at this juncture. His advice to
the north-eastern states to talk with the militants further
betray the sensitive (some may say soft) aspect of the second
most important man in the Central Government. Ajay Suri to him at
length. Excerpts of the interview:

Q: How far has the Government gone ahead with its 'pro-active'
approach on militancy-infested Kashmir?
A: One of the principal touchstones whereby the Government would
come to the conclusion that normalcy has returned is the
rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pandits who have been thrown out
of their hearths and homes. We propose to have a session with
Kashmiri Pandits and their representatives, along with Jammu &
Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. A measure of risk would
be there for everyone (including the Pandits). We would like to
provide the Kashmiri Pandits with the best possible safety
measures, but I can say that those who belong to the countryside
would be more willing to return than those from the urban areas.
In these few years, many of them have found a job and they would
not be very ready to go...land jinki hai woh jane to tayyar
honge, but risk land walon ke liye jyada hai... The state
Government would have to contribute, even to those whose property
has been destroyed. We will hold the talks soon.

Q: Can you foresee a time-frame in which the Kashmir problem
could be solved?
A: It is not possible. We have lost valuable time. After all, at
one stage, hot pursuit would have yielded immediate results. The
deterioration in the situation began in 1984 when they (Pakistan)
started implementing their strategy through Punjab. We succumbed
to the campaign they unleashed against Jagmohan in which Pakistan
was a principal party and Indian political parties joined
hands..... I still regard hot pursuit as a legitimate right of a
country that is subjected to this kind of attack. But I do not do
regard it appropriate at this point of time. Because of the
present situation, I would like to take steps which do not
enlarge the conflict. But one gratifying aspect certainly is that
tourists have returned to the Valley and most of the militants
apprehended or killed these days are foreign mercenaries, sent
from Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Islamic countries. Not many
of them are the residents of Kashmir. We have already unearthed
18 modules run by ISI in the country. We will make more progress
in this direction.

Q: Is the Bihar chapter as good as closed?
A: Bihar is certainly not a closed chapter. It may be that the
particular recommendation being sent second time is closed. But
if at all the Government decides to send a recommendation again,
it can certainly do it ... The view that it's a fit case was
expressed by the whole Cabinet, even while saying that in
deference to the wishes of the President we are not pursuing the
matter for the moment. One constraint on the Govt action was the
interpretation put by the President on the Bommai judgment
whereby no Government could recommend dissolution of a State
Assembly until first Parliament had first adopted the
proclamation. There are different legal views which say this is
not correct. They hold that the judgment is not binding on the
Government. In any case, we are calling a Chief Ministers'
meeting of the Inter-State Council to resume the debate on
Article 356.

Q: Why did the Government go for a desperate gamble in changing
the Delhi Chief Minister just before the state elections? Isn't
it a direct admission of failure in governing the capital?
A: I don't think it is a gamble; in fact, we had been thinking of
it for some time. When the Prime Minister planned a Cabinet
expansion in early October, it became logical move to have a
changeover in Delhi. We wanted to induct Sahib Singh into the
Central Government and send someone like Sushma (Swaraj), or
(Madan Lal) Khurana or whosoever we think would be the best card
for us. But the problem occurred when the Cabinet expansions was

Changing a Chief Minister at this point is not an admission of
failure. Sushma Swaraj's statements and pronouncements have
consciously sought to erase this feeling and we are going to the
people on the basis of achievements of both the Khurana and the
Sahib Singh governments. However, these comments would be there.
Any radical steps a party takes are bound to evoke comments. We
should be willing to accept those things.

Q: The issue of deportation of illegal Bangladeshis is due for
revival, considering the Maharashtra Government statement that
it would resume the process after Diwali. There are also talks of
giving work permits to illegal settlers from Bangladesh.
A: I have not talked about permits as such, but I have said that
about implementing a scheme of drawing up a national register of
citizens and providing all Indian citizens with multi-purpose
identity cards. In that process, we would also like to register
all non-citizens who are residents in India. In case of groups
like that of Bangladeshis, this non-citizen identity card will
for all practical purpose become a work permit. In that case
also, according to the international law and convention, it is
not only our right but our duty to see that they go back. But the
Government has been remit in discharging its duty. Over the
years, we have allowed this problem to grow to a dimension in
which deportation of more than one crore people becomes
impossible, purely for logistic reasons. Maharashtra govt tried
to send back 92 persons, and see the hue and cry that has been

The Home Ministry is trying to view the problem in a holistic way
and contain the negative consequences of such a large number of
illegal immigrants. If they have formal non-citizen identity
papers, they would be less of a threat to security, to the polity
of the country. The issue of these 92 deportees (sent by
Maharashtra Government) is before the Calcutta High Court. There
is no stay on their deportation but we would like to wait for the

Q: The North-East insurgency situation, though presently
overshadowed by Kashmir, could blow on the Government's face any
time. How exactly does the Home Ministry view the problem?
A: North-East is a matter of concern. All the North-eastern
states have been interacting with us, including those which are
afflicted by militancy. The Central Government has been giving
all necessary assistance and support, but I have been trying to
impress upon them that in Punjab we were ultimately able to
overcome militancy. Apart from the contributions of the Army and
the para-military forces, the principal factor which contributed
to our success were the administration and the police on one hand
and the ability of the leadership to isolate the people from the
militants on the other. We have to ensure there is no sympathy of
any kind for the militants.

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