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Time not ripe for demilitarisation in J&K: Azad
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March 04, 2007 15:44 IST

Dismissing reports about an immediate demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir in the near future, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the time was not ripe for such a move.

Addressing a public meeting at Uri, about 100 km from Srinagar in north Kashmir on Saturday, Azad said once peace was visible on the ground in the state, withdrawal of troops will automatically follow.

"Immediate demilitarisation is not possible when innocent people are being killed," he said adding, that peace was not visible in Kashmir despite people desperately yearning for it. For withdrawal of troops, peace is a pre-condition, he added.

Lauding the security forces for their work during all these years, he said they are deployed in the state for the safety and security of the people.

Without naming the coalition partner in the government, People's Democratic Party, and the separatist organisations, Azad said those demanding withdrawal or reduction of troops should take into account the ground situation before making such a demand.

"Who can tell if there is a flare up in militancy once the troops are withdrawn," he asked adding, they have to guarantee the safety and security of common people.

Azad said after resuming the bus services between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, people were in favour of starting the truck service.

"We are ready, but Pakistan is creating hurdles," he said and expressed the hope that the service will be started soon.

About the peace process between India and Pakistan, he said it was moving towards the right direction.

He said those opposing the ongoing dialogue process between the two countries will not be allowed to succeed.

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