Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt General (retd) SK Sinha opposed de-militarization in Jammu and Kashmir arguing that the state has borders with the neighboring country and withdrawal of army was not possible even if the situation returned complete normalcy.
He agreed that the security situation in Kashmir has improved considerably “but it is not practical to withdraw army from the states like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan, which borders with neighboring country”.
He however said that troops on combating duty in Jammu and Kashmir could be withdrawn when peace completely prevails in the state. He also rejected Pakistan President’s joint management (of Jammu and Kashmir) theory saying that it would be an infringement to the country’s sovereignty.
Governor was speaking at a seminar organized in Srinagar on Thursday jointly by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir Police. The two day seminar, which began on Thursday, is being held at SK International Convention Centre (SKICC).
Commenting on Pakistan President General Parvez Musharaf’s 4-point formula (demilitarization, self-rule, joint management and making LOC irrelevant) for resolving the issue of Kashmir, he said “there is no need to reject it. We must discuss these points but it does not mean that we accept them”. “Demilitarization means total withdrawal of the army from a place. It is not possible”, he said.
Governor said that self-rule was synonymous with democracy and “the degree of democracy people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoy is higher than people living in other states”. “If there is any need for self-rule, it is needed in parts under occupation of Pakistan”, he said.
Sinha said “we want to change the line of control into line of peace and prosperity but it is possible only when infiltration stops completely”. He said that the terrorist infrastructure still existed in POK and terrorists could infiltrate any time after snow melted in mountains.
Sinha was all praise for the army for the “good” work it did to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir. “The army’s respect for human rights is exemplary. No foreign army can touch Indian army’s record for respecting human rights”, he said but added there were some aberrations. He said that 30 cases of human rights violations were found correct and 70 guilty jawans were punished for this.
Director General of Police Gopal Sharma, who also spoke on the occasion, said that the terrorists violence has witnessed decline in the past few years.
“For the past two years the trend in violence is reverse. There is a gradual decline in violence”, he said but cautioned there was no scope for complacency. Former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, Salman Haider and Lalit Mansingh (former foreign secretaries) and several local intellectuals and media persons attended the seminar.