Azad against Kashmir demilitarisation
5 February 2007
Indo-Asian News Service
Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Monday said that the security scenario in the state had definitely improved but the time was not yet right for its demilitarisation. Azad said this while replying to queries put forth to the government by MLAs during the budget session of the state legislature. He asked opposition parties to end their rhetoric of demilitarisation when they themselves knew the situation was not appropriate for it.He said he would 'within 24 hours write to New Delhi to remove troops from the state' if the MLAs issued a joint statement that 'they don't require security guards'. Azad said the government was taking action against erring police officers, troops and paramilitary personnel.Since 1994, action has been taken against 37 police, 47 army and 79 Border Security Forces (BSF) personnel. Besides, trials are on against 84 police personnel, Azad noted.The chief minister also pointed out that violence had gone down and surrender of militants had increased since 2000.'Violent incidents have gone down by 16 percent, civilian killings by 27 percent, killings of police and security forces by 26 percent, IED blasts by 22 percent, car blasts by 75 percent, killings of political activists by 58 percent and militant killings by 45 percent,' Azad said.'Surrenders have increased by a whopping 196 percent, arrests by 19 percent,' he added. Custodial deaths, Azad said, had decreased from 67 between October 1996 and October 2002 to 25 between November 2002 and October 2005. They went down to four from November 2005 till date.Saying that the rule of law was being followed, Azad accepted that there were some aberrations. 'Allegations of rape by security forces which were 70 between October 1996 and October 2002 and 74 between November 2002 and October 2005 have gone down to seven since November 2005 till date.'