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Incident-free Republic Day in J&K
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | January 26, 2008 14:02 IST
It was an incident-free 59th Republic Day across Jammu and Kashmir [Images], as official functions were held at provincial and at all the district headquarters on Saturday.
The main Republic Day parade was held at the Maulana Azad stadium in Jammu, where the Governor Lt. Gen. (Retd) S K Sinha took the salute, as contingents of police and paramilitary forces march passed before the podium.
Sinha cautioned against security forces lowering their guard, saying, "The terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is intact and conditions in Pakistan are most volatile, having risk of spilling over to our side."
The governor while greeting the people on the occasion said, "We cannot lower our guard, whether on the borders or in the interior."
Sinha said that the ratio of deployment of troops, army and paramilitary, to population in the state, excluding militancy free Ladakh, is 1 to 40.
"This is less than 1 to 37 in Waziristan in Pakistan and 1 to 28 in Tibet," he added.
He, however, added, "Once peace is restored in the state and infiltration from across the border ceases, the government and the army will be only too happy to return the troops deployed for internal security back to barracks. In that event reduction in the strength would be considered."
However, he said that would not "apply to troops guarding our borders with Pakistan and China."
Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Biagh hoisted the national flag and took salute at the main parade in Srinagar [Images] at the Bakshi stadium.
Contingents of security forces and police had taken over the main parade venue in the Valley, days ahead of this mornings function.
All the high rise buildings around the stadium were dotted with sharpshooters to thwart any militant attempts to fire rockets or grenades towards the parade venue.
Bomb detection squads and sniffer dogs were used to sanitise the Bakshi stadium from inside, hours before the parade.
All roads leading to the main venue had been sealed with barricades and trucks were cross-parked to thwart any militant attacks.
Republic Day functions in other district headquarters have also passed off peacefully.
The Valley was, however, shut following a strike call by both the moderate and the hard-line groups of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference as also by various militant outfits. Srinagar wore a deserted look.