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Threat of militant violence continues: J&K Governor
Agence France-Presse, PTI
October 21, 2002
First Published: 21:34 IST(19/10/2002)
Last Updated: 16:51 IST(21/10/2002)

The Jammu and Kashmir Governor said on Saturday that the State was still in the grip of violence, despite the end of state elections that were relentlessly attacked by Muslim militants.

"Although we have successfully seen through the very difficult period of the Amarnath yatra (Hindu pilgrimage), Independence Day and especially the elections, the threat (of militant violence) continues," Governor Girish Chander Saxena said.

Saxena took over the reigns of the troubled-state on Friday after the interim chief minister refused to serve beyond midnight Thursday, when the term of the previous state assembly expired.

The four-phase elections that ended October 8 produced a fractured verdict with no single party in a position to form the government.

India's main opposition Congress party and a regional party are trying to cobble out a coalition, but wrangling continue on who will lead the government.

The governor said the security forces ensured a secure month-long Hindu pilgrimage in Kashmir in July, followed by India's Independence Day on August 15, which Muslim rebels observed as a "black" day and tried to disrupt celebrations.

There was ongoing violence during the state assembly elections in which some 830 people were killed.

Saxena claimed the infiltration of Muslim militants into the Indian zone of Kashmir was continuing from Pakistan-administered region.

"The infiltration continues. Even as I speak there are encounters going on (in Kashmir)," he told a news conference at summer capital Srinagar's Governor House.

Saxena accused Pakistan of stepping up violence during the elections. "There is no denying that during the period of elections from the other side there was every effort to step-up terrorist violence, to intimidate the electorate and the candidates," he alleged.

"Despite that the elections have been successfully held, the danger (of rebel violence) continues."

The governor said he had reviewed the security situation Friday with senior army, civil and police officers.

"We took stock of the situation, both the internal situation and the situation on the borders (with Pakistan) and the situation with regard to the infiltration," he said.

Saxena said the meeting also made a "preliminary assessment of the implications of political developments in our neighbouring country (Pakistan)".

"We reviewed all the factors, and how we can enhance our security efforts by various ways and be prepared to meet any challenge."

The governor this week extended the initial deadline of October 17 for the political parties to form the government by four days.

On Saturday he said that deadline had no relevance after the imposition of direct Centre rule on the state.

"Any party or groups of parties that may satisfy me that they will command the majority, and survive the no-confidence motion in the assembly can come to me anytime to stake the claim," he said.

"I am hopeful they (political parties) will spare any effort to see that the verdict and the mandate of the people is respected." 


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