Violence Levels In Valley On The Decline

14 March 2009

Srinagar: As violence levels in Jammu and Kashmir are showing a decline as many as 3,000 troops deployed in the Valley have been relocated to the Line of Control. The move comes at a time when the Army moved out its 70 Infantry Brigade from Shopian in South Kashmir. Reports reaching Press Bureau of India said that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had already given several hints on troop’s redeployment in the Valley. Omar made it clear that as the ground situation is showing signs of improvement, troops from various areas of the Valley need to be redeployed. Interestingly, Omar who visited New Delhi last week had a detailed discussion with the Union home minister P. Chidambram. Omar according to sources informed the Minister about the improvement in the ground situation in the Valley and sought his help in replacing troops from the CRPF with the personnel of Jammu and Kashmir police from most parts of the Srinagar city. Sources told PBI that the move has been taken keeping in mind the changing threat perception in the Valley as militancy-related incidents have dropped to their lowest since the 1990s when the separatist movement was at its peak. Surprisingly, the 70 Infantry Brigade was moved out in the last week of February barely a month after Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said that barring an odd aberration, violence levels in the state had come down more than 50 per cent compared to last year. Sources said the headquarters of the Shopian-based brigade, which played a decisive role in the Kargil conflict, has moved to Leh. The brigade, whose earlier role was to support the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in counter-militancy operations in the Valley, has now been tasked to guard the border. Defence spokesman Colonel Umi Maheshwar told Press Bureau of India that he has no information about any troop redeployment. “Right now nothing can be said about the redeployment,” the army spokesman told PBI. Sources told PBI that army is keen to strengthen the counter infiltration mechanism along the Line of Control, given the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. Sources maintained that in the coming days more troops are to be deployed along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.