May 2007 News

Violence, infiltration up in Kashmir: Azad

26 May 2007
Indo-Asian News Service

Srinagar: The number of violent incidents and cross border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir has increased in the last three months, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Saturday.'There have been 110 civilian killings by the militants during the last three months while 146 militants were killed. The infiltration from across the border also went up compared to the corresponding period last year,' Azad said at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex here.Azad told reporters that the levels of violence were low when his predecessor Mufti Mohammed Sayed, leader of Congress ally People's Democratic Party (PDP), first raised the demand for demilitarization of the state early this year.Azad again ruled out any immediate withdrawal of the Indian Army from the state.'It is a difficult situation. I don't want to withdraw the army from a certain area today and then allow the militants to dominate such areas so that an even larger number of army has to be called in to flush out the militants.'A number of public meetings and rallies are being held this time in the Valley by both the mainstream political parties and also the separatist Hurriyat leaders. Such public rallies are only possible because the security forces dominate the areas. It is only the army that can dominate areas and keep the militants on the run,' he said.The chief minister also ruled out the possibility of early assembly elections.He said these would be held as scheduled next year.'We would be spending Rs.40 billion for building infrastructure in the state during this year and the next year. 2007 and 2008 would, therefore, be known as the developmental years,' Azad said.Referring to the 2001 ceasefire by the security forces, Azad said: 'That period was used by the militants to regroup and plan their strategies. After the ceasefire ended, there were deadly attacks like those on the state assembly and the country's parliament. I cannot allow the situation to slip to those levels,' he said.


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