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J-K govt doing its best, troops must be cautious: Cong

delhi Updated: Jun 28, 2010 21:03 IST
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In the wake of death of youths allegedly in CRPF firing in Jammu and Kashmir, Congress on Sunday asked the paramilitary forces to exercise "utmost caution" and said the state government is doing its best to handle the complex situation there.

"There is a need to minimise or rather totally negate collateral damage...innocents should not be killed," party spokesman Manish Tewari said at the AICC briefing.

The party said that the paramilitary forces "must exercise utmost caution" while conceding that they are "operating in a hostile environment".

"Given the situation and circumstances, the state government is trying its best to handle the situation to the best of its abilities...he (Chief Minister Omar Abdullah) has a very complex problem at hand. For all stakeholders there is a need to maintain patience and perseverance," he said.

His response came in a query on whether the party agrees with the view of the opposition in Jammu and Kashmir that the NC-Congress government in the state has failed.

"There is no need to judgemental about the Chief Minister. Only the electorate can pass any such judgement," Tewari added.

He said that his party empathises with family members of the people who have lost their lives.

On June 25, two youths were killed and three others injured allegedly in firing by CRPF after the security personnel were attacked by protesters following an encounter in which two militants were gunned down.

The incident had sparked protests across the Valley with both factions of Hurriyat calling for a shutdown. A youth was
killed after CRPF personnel fired rubber bullets on a stone-pelting mob in Sopore town on Sunday.

Two persons were killed in separate incidents in Kashmir valley on Sunday when security forces allegedly opened fire at
mobs protesting the death of the youth.

Omar Abdullah had last night spoken with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and voiced his strong concern over civilians becoming victims of action by paramilitary forces.

Asked about the need for changes in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Tewari said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already talked about giving AFSPA a "humane face" adding, "the concerned ministry will definitely take note of it...it's a fine balancing act, which government has to do."

He also hailed the commencement of the Rs 1,700 crore project to build the world's highest road tunnel at Rohtang for an alternative all-weather route to strategically important Ladakh and Kargil regions in Jammu and Kashmir, which was launched by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday.

"This clearly establishes that UPA government is committed to protect the economic and strategic interests of the country. The absence of a tunnel in Rohtang was felt badly during the Kargil War," Tewari said.