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Army rules out troop withdrawal from J&K
April 11, 2007 19:59 IST
Ruling out withdrawal of troops from any part of Jammu and Kashmir, the Army said on Wednesday that about 1,300 to 1,500 militants, 40 percent of them foreigners, were still operating in the border state.
"There is no troops withdrawal from anywhere. There has been no withdrawal of Army posts and pickets in remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir at all," General Officer Commanding-in- Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen H S Panag told reporters.
Referring to reports of withdrawal of troops and Army pickets in Rajouri and Poonch districts, Panag confirmed that 'there was no withdrawal at all'.
He said there was always relocation and readjustment of troops as per the security requirements from time to time in that sector.
"However, security of people in border areas was never compromised at all," he said, adding there was no question of withdrawal of troops guarding the border in future as well.
The BJP recently has alleged that there has been a 'silent' pullout of troops from Rajouri and Poonch districts.
Panag said, "As a soldier and professional, the army cannot go back to barracks and leave Pakistan-supported militancy to continue in the state".
"There are large numbers of trained militants waiting across Line of Control to enter into Jammu and Kashmir."
Similarly, terror infrastructure was still intact on Pakistani soil and the militants were being aided and abetted by the ISI, he said.
"I agree with the statement of Governor S K Sinha that there cannot be demilitarisation and troops going back to barracks is only possible when total peace and normalcy returns to Jammu and Kashmir," he said.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha said a decision on demilitarisation should be left to the Army, security agencies and administration.
"Troops withdrawal is not a political but technical issue and it should be allowed to be dealt by the army, administration and security and intelligence agencies," he told reporters in Reasi district after inaugurating a home for women who lost their husbands in militancy-related violence.
The issue (troops withdrawal) should not be decided on the political platform at all, he said, adding that the army can go back to barracks only when complete peace and normalcy is achieved in the state.
Outrightly rejecting demilitarisation in the state, he said the issue should not be politicised.
"Jammu and Kashmir cannot be demilitarised as it borders states like Punjab and Rajasthan. It is also gripped by cross-border terrorism," the Governor said.
Without naming former Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Sinha said, "Some people have launched a bogey of demilitarisation by saying that army should be withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir".
"They are doing it for drawing benefits. It (troops withdrawal) should not be politicised by political parties," he said.
On alleged human rights violations by armed forces in the state, he said there have been one or two such incidents, but those soldiers have been severely punished by army. Earlier, the Governor inauguarated widow home 'Shakti Sadan' for housing militancy-victim women in Reasi district.