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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

Omar wary of Pak's intentions, asks Delhi to act sternly

Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, October 18, 2013
First Published: 19:15 IST(18/10/2013) | Last Updated: 13:20 IST(19/10/2013)

With the 2002 ceasefire agreement falling apart this year, worried J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said he sees "no good intentions as Pakistan army has upped ceasefire violations even after two prime ministers agreed to address the same in New York recently".

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"I do not understand who is behind this. The two prime ministers (Indian and Pakistani) met in New York and talked about ceasefire violations. Instead, the issue is getting more serious," said Abdullah on the sidelines of the inaugural session of three-day north zone regional judicial conference at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar.

The chief minister's statement has come as both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir are witnessing increasing violations of ceasefire from across the border along the Line of Control (LoC).

As fresh sniper shots and shelling from across the border fuels migration in Jammu's Poonch area because of civilian injuries, Omar asked India to take up the issue with Pakistan "in a strong manner".

"The way civilian areas were targeted by shelling yesterday (Thursday), it does not seem that their intentions are good," said Omar.

The CM said it was pledged that the director general of military operations (DGMOs) of both countries would discuss the issue and find a remedy.

Five people, including three children and a woman, were among those injured in Jammu's Najwal border hamlet in fresh Pakistan army's shelling.

Since January this year, the LoC has remained very hot.

There were serious allegations of limited border incursions and killings into each others' territories. Besides backing infiltration bids, the ceasefire violations saw no let up all through the year.

More than 150 violations were reported this year, which include infiltration bids.

At least 15 soldiers, eight from Pakistan and seven from India, have lost lives in the cross firings so far. Several civilians have also been caught in the crossfire. Major migration of civilians in two places, one in Poonch and PoK's Kotli areas, have taken place.

There was a major Pakistan army-backed infiltration bid between September 24 and October 8. The army claimed 30-40 were pushed back, around 12 dead, in the clashes near Kupwara's Keran sector, adjacent to the LoC.

Home minister, CM may visit LoC next week

The Jammu and Kashmir government has already taken up the issue of fresh violation with New Delhi. Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Omar are likely to visit the LoC next week to assess the situation.

"We want the ceasefire to remain in force so that people living near the border and LoC sustain their life comfortably. The prevailing tension there (on LoC) is not good for us (state)," he said.

Since 2002, there was a sharp dip in number of ceasefire violations after the two countries pledged to take the peace process forward, which also resulted in cross-LoC bus service and trade in state.

A sizable population in Jammu's Poonch areas returned to their fields near the border after two decades of constant ceasefire violations.

The fresh violations ahead of winters fuels fears that a cover is being provided to infiltrating militants to keep winters violent in state.

"So far, the most successful part of the peace process has been the ceasefire and if the ceasefire is ended, then it would be difficult to enforce it again," Omar warned.

FAST FACTS

* Five people, including three children and a woman, were among those injured in Jammu's Najwal border hamlet in fresh Pakistan army's shelling.

* More than 150 violations were reported this year, which include infiltration bids.

* At least 15 soldiers, eight from Pakistan and seven from India, have lost lives in the cross firings so far.

* Several civilians have also been caught in the crossfire.

* Major migration of civilians in two places, one in Poonch and PoK's Kotli areas, have taken place.


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