Taking on political friends and foes alike, Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad offered a statistical peep into the horrible skeletons waiting to tumble out of cupboards of the National Conference and PDP rule of nine years from 1996 to 2005 and advised them to "stop running with hare and hunt with hounds" on the political minefield of the State.
Azad launched a frontal attack on the two parties that ruled before him on two counts. He asked them not to resort to politics of stirring emotions by raking up the issue of the human rights violation through one prism and also for demanding removal and withdrawal of security forces.
He declared that he would write within 24 hours to the Centre to “remove the security forces from the State if members of all political parties in this House unanimously give in writing that they don’t require security at all,” he said.
“Though there has been improvement but it not at the level where we can ask the security forces to pack up and the police to take over the internal security.”
He was responding to the clamour for removal of security forces and reduction of their powers in the state. The members had asked for removal of army, and paramilitary forces and also that special powers conferred on security forces under Disturbed Area Act and Jammu and Kashmir Armed Forces Special Powers Act be reduced.
"Neither they would be replaced by the police , nor there would be any curtailment in their powers," he said. " Time is not opportune for that," he said.
"What you are talking about is the security situation of peace times of 1988, I am afraid my security perception is not that, and if you want, I would be happy to do so within 24 hours on the condition you give it in writing that your personal security be withdrawn once for all," he sad and advised, "Please don't play to galleries and revel in emotional politics."
In his most critical remarks for those leaders asking for the withdrawal of security forces and consistently playing up the human rights issue, Chief Minister asked them "not to run with hare and hunt with hounds".
Azad reeled out statistics since October 9, 1996 to November 2, 2005 when National Conference ( 1996-2002) and PDP ( 2002-2005) ruled Jammu and Kashmir, which showed that the human rights violations were 'lowest' during his Government.
“During my period there were six cases of the custodial killings, I have ordered inquiry into all that. Investigations are on and the action has been taken against the men suspected to be involved in the crime,” he said referring to the unearthing of the fake encounters in Ganderbal area of the Valley in the past over a week.
But there were 67 such cases during the NC rule and 25 during PDP era, the figures read out by Chief Minister in the legislative Assembly indicated.
“If you want these cases can be reopened, but be prepared for the skeletons that would tumble out,” he said. “That would be a worst case scenario”.
“I have taken action, keeping my word for zero tolerance to human rights violations. Zero tolerance means we would take action wherever some wrong doing is uncovered,” Azad said.
He went onto remind the parties and leaders that the custodial disappearances and rapes were far higher during their rule. "I have done what was expected of me. I am not ashamed."
Pointing to the observations made by some of the leaders, both within the House and outside, that the sense of security has declined, Azad again told them that there has been 16 per cent decline in incidents of violence, civilian killings have gone down by 27 per cent, security forces killings have decreased by 26 per cent, IED blasts have come down by 22 per cent and car blasts by 62 per cent and fidayeen attacks by 75 per cent, surrender of militants have gone up by 196 per cent.
He asked the political leaders not to resort to play with sentiments of the people to “gain cheap publicity”. “That is harmful for the health of the state.”
This was a counter to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti who had claimed that the “sense of security trend had started reversing in the past couple of years.
Chief Minister also gave a detailed account of the achievements of his government in which he felt that the Government had done exceptionally well.
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