VHP blasts Vajpayee for new peace proposals
AHMEDABAD: A Hindu right-wing leader Thursday blasted the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s renewed peace initiative with arch-rival Pakistan.
“The move comes as a body-blow to the brave personnel of the security forces who are daily sacrificing their lives to defend the country against Pakistan’s evil designs,” Pravin Togadia, senior leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP — World Hindu Council) said.
India accuses Pakistan of backing an armed militant insurgency in Indian Kashmir since 1989, which has claimed more than 38,000 lives. Pakistan denies the claim, but says it extends diplomatic and moral support to these groups.
India and Pakistan, who both claim Kashmir and who have fought two of three wars over Kashmir, came to the brink of another conflict last year, but tensions eased after Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee offered a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan in April.
On Wednesday, India unveiled a number of proposals to revive a faltering peace process with Pakistan, including the start of a bus service between Indian Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar and Pakistani Kashmir capital Muzaffarabad.
India also proposed to start a ferry service between the Indian and Pakistani port cities of Bombay and Karachi as well as the resumption of bilateral sporting links, particularly cricket.
Togadia said the government’s policy to negotiate peace diplomatically was a flawed one and added that it should build up international pressure on Pakistan to end “its terrorist activities in India”.
“Pakistan has been waging a proxy war on India for over two decades without a day’s let up and change of rulers has not made any difference,” he said.
“Time has now come for India to decide whether it should surrender its children, innocent civilians and soldiers to the Pak-sponsored AK-47s or take the Jehadi Pakistan and terror network head on,” Togadia added. —AFP