Press Trust of india

Parties come together to support security forces in defending India's integrity

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New Delhi, Feb 16 :  Political parties Saturday put up a united face as they underlined India's determination to fight terrorism following the Pulwama suicide attack and expressed their solidarity with security forces in defending the country's unity and integrity.

An all-party meeting, called by the government and attended by senior leaders of all major parties, passed a resolution condemning the terror attack and the support being given to it from across the border. Members of the opposition extended support to the government in tackling the challenge.

In the meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad asked him to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of the presidents of all major national and regional parties, a view supported by Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool Congress and D Raja of the CPI.

The resolution adopted at the nearly two-hour meeting said, "India has displayed both firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges. The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges."

It added, "Today, we stand united in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism and in defending the unity and integrity of India."

Opposition sources said the draft resolution shared by the government spoke of parties standing with security forces and "efforts of the central and state governments" but the mention of central and state governments was dropped from its final copy at the suggestion of opposition parties.

The resolution adopted at the all-party meeting did not name Pakistan but asserted that India has been facing the menace of the cross-border terrorism which of late, it added, is being actively encouraged by forces from the neighbouring country.

As many as 40 CRPF personnel were killed on Thursday in one of the most lethal attacks targeting the security forces since Independence. Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sanjay Raut, a member of BJP ally Shiv Sena, asked the government to draw inspiration from former prime minister Indira Gandhi and hit Pakistan directly.

He told reporters that an incident like Pulwama attack would not have happened if surgical strikes, which the Army had carried out across the Line of Control in 2016, had made an impact.

In his opening remarks, Singh briefed the leaders about the attack and his visit to the state on Friday.

"The government is determined to take its fight against terrorism to the logical conclusion. The sacrifices of security personnel will not go in vain. The people of Jammu and Kashmir want peace and are with us, but there are some elements supporting the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups," he said.

The morale of security forces is high and they have been given a free hand, he asserted.

The meeting was also attended by Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay of the TMC, Jithendra Reddy of the TRS, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference and Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP among others.

Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal, Sanjay Singh of the Aam Aadmi Party, Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav of the RJD were among others who attended the meeting.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters that parties extended their support to the government, as he read out from the resolution.

Sanjay Singh said political parties told the government that they will support any action it takes following the attack in Pulwama.

The issue of alleged harassment of some Kashmiri students outside the Valley was raised by National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.

The home minister assured him that nobody will be allowed to vitiate communal harmony, and the central government is issuing an advisory in this regard to state governments.

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