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Kashmir's opposition MLAs forgo security cover
Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
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February 06, 2007 20:05 IST
Last Updated: February 06, 2007 23:22 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is in a tight spot.

Opposition People's Democratic Party ministers and legislators on Tuesday evening wrote in to the chief minister asking him to withdraw the security provided to them.

Earlier, party chief Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had written to the chief minister asking him to withdraw his security personnel.

Azad had on Monday said those who suggested the withdrawal of security forces from the Valley must surrender the security cover they enjoyed.

Sayeed and Mehbooba Mufti then made the first move, before their legislators joined them.

"During the discussion on budget demands for your departments on Monday, you stated on the floor of the House that those leaders who want a gradual reduction of security forces from the state with greater involvement of the state police and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act should give you in writing to surrender their personal security.

"We believe that surrendering personal security by us would earn your endorsement to our suggestion, as has been stated by you in the state assembly and you would take steps in this direction so that the people of the state get the relief that we envisage through these measures," the Mufti said in a communication to the chief minister, copies of which were circulated to the media in Srinagar on Tuesday.

It further said, "It has been a consistent view of the People's Democratic Party that a dignified solution to the problems facing Jammu and Kashmir can come only through dialogue and peaceful means. This view is fortunately gaining momentum across the sub-continent and as part of the reconciliatory process we have been suggesting a gradual reduction of forces, empowerment of the state police and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. These steps, we believe, would help early restoration of peace and to check the alleged human rights violation. Accordingly, I am writing this letter to request you to please withdraw my personal security and that of Mehbooba Mufti, parliamentarian, with immediate effect."

The chief minister had on Monday held out the assurance at the floor of the in-session state assembly while responding to the demand of withdrawal of security forces made by certain members as a means to bring down the graph of human rights violations.

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