New force for Kashmir being set up today
5 August 2001
Jammu: With upsurge in freedom struggle in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian authorities plan to raise a special force to be stationed in the state''s highlands. The move comes in the wake of Saturday''s massacre of 17 Hindus at Sarhoti Dhar in Doda district, about 250 km from Jammu, Indo-Asian News Service website reported on Sunday. ''This force will be set up on Monday. There is going to be no delay,'' director-general of police Ashok Kumar Suri said. The police chief said the force would be raised on the lines of the special police officers (SPOs), who are recruited from among the local youth. They are armed with weapons and imparted military training. There are already 7,000 SPOs in Doda district. These special officers work in tandem with security forces and also take on the militants independently, the report added. More operations against the separatists are also planned to clear the high mountains of fighters to instil confidence in the people, the police chief said. There are more than 80 highland pastures with more than 10 ''dhoks'', or summer huts, each in Doda district spread over Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Doda and Banihal areas. DISMISSAL DEMANDED Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP has demanded the dismissal of the National Conference government in Kashmir following the killing of 17 Hindus in Doda district on Friday night. ''We urge the Centre to dismiss the state government and hand over Doda district to army immediately to flush out militants,'' state party president Daya Krishan Kotwal told reporters here on Saturday.