35,000 troops reduced in Kashmir: Omar Abdullah | india | Hindustan Times
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35,000 troops reduced in Kashmir: Omar Abdullah

Over 35,000 troops have been reduced in Jammu and Kashmir in the past 15 months, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the state legislative assembly.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2010 11:03 IST

Over 35,000 troops have been reduced in Jammu and Kashmir in the past 15 months, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the state legislative assembly.

"Without creating any hype we have reduced 35,000 troops and also decreased the number of central paramilitary forces from internal duty," Abdullah said on Wednesday evening.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) and separatists in the state have been consistently campaigning for troop reduction, as they believe that the presence of the army in Kashmir was intruding into the day-to-day lives of the people and was also responsible for human rights abuses.

Abdullah's National Conference is also of the view that an improvement in the security situation necessitates reduction of troops in the Valley.

However, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is opposed to the move. BJP legislature party leader Chaman Lal Gupta told the assembly that the reduction of troops would only encourage the militants.

"It will encourage militants to regroup and worsen the situation," he said.

Abdullah, on his part, promised that there would be a further decline in the number of troops.

"With the gradual restoration of peace and tranquillity, the footprints of the security forces in the state would lessen," he said.

The chief minister claimed, "The track record of his government's last one year is testimony to his commitment to zero tolerance to human rights abuses".

He cited the instance of Border Security Force (BSF) commander R.K. Birdi and constable Lakhvinder Kumar being arrested for their alleged involvement in the killing of a teenager in Srinagar last month.