Hizbul Threat On J&K Polls Taken Seriously, Security Tightened

15 April 2009
The Times of India

New Delhi: After Hizbul Mujahiddin chief Syed Salahuddin threatened to disrupt the poll process in Jammu and Kashmir, Army today said that the militant's threat was taken 'seriously' and that it was working to ensure free and fair elections in the state. 'This threat, which has been issued by Syed Salahuddin to interfere with elections in Kashmir has been taken seriously by us...it is our duty to make sure that the electorate is not intimidated and the election process is fair and free,' Army Vice-Chief Lieutenant General Noble Thamburaj said. On Monday, the Hizbul chief had called for boycott of elections in Kashmir. Security forces were carrying out sustained operations to sanitize the state, the army's Vice-Chief told reporters here. On army's assistance to paramilitary and police forces to tackle the Naxal menace in the country, Thamburaj said, 'As of now, our role is only in acquisition of intelligence and advising policemen and also to train them (for tackling Naxals).' Commenting on army's inability to spend a large amount of its budgetary allocation for capital acquisition, the Vice Chief said, 'This year there have been some slippages... We are making some corrections and taking all measures to ensure that modernization in the eleventh plan moves in time.'