India concerned over JeM chief's rally

India concerned over JeM chief's rally

 Alarmed by the re-emergence of terrorist leader Masood Azhar, New Delhi on Friday expressed concern over a recent rally at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where the elusive founder of the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) used a phone to address the crowd and spew venom against India.

“It is obviously a matter of concern for us as the leader of a banned terrorist organisation was able to spew venom against India,” spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, told journalists in New Delhi.

Azhar purportedly called for resumption of “jihad” or holy war against India, while addressing the crowd through a phone, held close to a microphone by one of the organisers. Claiming that 313 “fidayeens” (suicide attackers) were present in the rally itself, he purportedly also said that the number would go up to 3,000 once he called upon them to resume the “jihad”, ostensibly against India.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Government tried to play down Azhar’s address as a “one-time event”. India, however, was not convinced with the explanation.

“Once is once too many times...We have zero tolerance for terrorists,” the MEA spokesperson said in New Delhi. He pointed out that Azhar’s JeM was “a terrorist organisation banned by India, the US and more importantly by Pakistan”.

The radical cleric was one of the three terrorists, who were released from prisons in India in exchange of release of the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC 814 in 1999.

Azhar later set up the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which collaborated with another terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba to carry out the attack on Parliament of India on December 13, 2001. 

The JeM was banned by Pakistan in 2002 and it splintered into Khuddam ul-Islam and Jamaat ul-Furqan.

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