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Sayeed dispels doubts on transfer of power

Mukhtar Ahmed in Srinagar | August 04, 2005 21:26 IST

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday dispelled rumours about any ambiguity in his stepping down from the Chief Minister's post to make way for the Congress party nominee this November.

Addressing a crowded news conference in Srinagar on Thursday, the chief minister said: "There is  no ambiguity in my mind about the transfer of power to the Congress."

As per the agreement, Mufti has to step down by coming November for the Congress nominee to take over as the state's chief minister.

There have been media speculations that a storm was brewing between the coalition partners over the issue of transfer of power. But Mufti's statement has put those speculations at rest.

Quoting figures, the chief minister said militant violence in Jammu and Kashmir was on the decrease. He said militancy related violence had gone down by 25 percent.

From January 1 to August 3 this year, the chief minister said 1,217 such incidents had taken place compared to 1,611 during the corresponding period last year.

"Civilian killings have registered a 31 percent decrease with 335 killings taking place this year as against 482 last year.

"21 percent decrease has been recorded in the killing of the security forces personnel during the same period," the chief minister said.

He said this year 606 militants were killed compared to 626 last year. On the killing of politicians, he said it had decreased by 42 percent.The chief minister said there had been 21 suicide attacks in the first 7 months this year compared to 41 such attacks last year.

The chief minister considered 'infusing a sense of security' as a 'remarkable achievement' of his government.

He said security forces had been made accountable and any violation of human rights was taken note of seriously. The guilty had been brought to book, he claimed.

Also read:Azad's arrival on Martyrs Day sets off speculation

Tourist arrivals, the chief minister said, had almost doubled this year in comparison to last year. He said 3.90 lakh tourists visited Kashmir this year till August 3 against 2 lakh during the corresponding period last year.

Mufti said that more Jammu and Kashmir specific confidence building measures were in the pipeline including converting the fortnightly bus run between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad into a weekly service and starting up of truck service on the Jhelum Valley road for trade activities.

"Since the inaugural run of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus on April 7, this year, as many as 237 passengers from Pakistan occupied Kashmir have travelled to this side while 172 locals have visited Muzaffarabad in the past 4 months."

Replying to a question, the chief minister said though the situation had improved, time was not yet ripe for the withdrawal of the 'Disturbed Areas Act' and 'Armed Forces Special Powers Act'that were in force in the state.

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