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Islamic State failed in India despite huge Muslim population: Rajnath Singh

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-06-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Global terror outfit Islamic State (IS) had not been able to set foot in India despite the presence of the world’s second-largest Muslim population, home minister Rajnath Singh said on Saturday.

Barring two terror attacks in Punjab in 2015-16, the security situation in the country had by and large remained under control, the minister said at a press conference on three years of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. More than 90 IS sympathisers had been arrested due to better coordination between state and central security agencies, Singh said. Five terrorists of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) group were given capital punishment as part of the government’s focused efforts to check terrorism, Singh added.

“The home ministry has a major responsibility to provide security to the country. I can say that we have together by and large provided security to the country. “India is the second-largest country as far as Muslim population in the world is concerned. I can say with full responsibility that despite such a large population (of Muslims), the ISIS (another acronym for the Islamic State) has not been able to set foot,” he said.

The IS and the Ansar-ul-Ummah, the frontal organisation of the Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Mujahideen group, have been included in the list of banned terrorist organisations in order to check terrorism.

“There is improvement in the security situation in the country. We have been successful in countering the challenges posed by the ISIS,” the home minister said. Comparing the previous UPA regime with the NDA tenure, he said a total of 239 militants were neutralised from 2011 to 2013. “This number has gone up to 369 during 2014-17.” He said there had been 45% reduction in infiltration attempts from Pakistan since the surgical strike by the army in September 2016, compared to the corresponding six months in the previous year. “We will end Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and ensure peace,” the home minister said. Singh mentioned special initiatives being taken by the NDA government to provide skill and job opportunities to youth in Kashmir.

In the three years of the UPA regime (2011-14), he said, over 1,900 youths were provided skill training and jobs were offered to 1,591. In 2014-17, as many as 20,355 were given training and 30,175 were given job offers. The remuneration given to special police officers (SPOs) had been doubled to Rs6,000 from Rs3,000 per month, the home minister said. Besides, 10,000 new posts of SPOs were approved in addition to the existing 25,000. Five new Indian reserve battalions had been approved for Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have approved 63 projects under PM package worth Rs80,000 crore for J-K,” he said. Mentioning anti-Naxal measures being taken by the government, Singh said there had been 25% reduction in Naxal attacks in 2014-17 as compared to 2011-14. He said three years of NDA government had seen a 42% reduction in deaths in Naxal attacks as compared to last three years of the UPA government. The home minister said major development had been done in Naxal-affected states, including Chhattisgarh, which has completely destroyed (“kamar tod di hai”) the support system for Naxal activities. Over 2,000 mobile towers were installed and work for the installation of another 2,882 towers was in progress, he said.

Besides, 358 new bank branches and 752 ATMs were opened whereas approval had been given for opening 1,789 post offices in Naxal-affected areas, he said. “This development has never happened at such a fast pace,” the home minister said, adding that an air strip in Chhattisgarh’s Jadgdalpur area would be made completely functional this year.

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