Mehbooba calls disbanding of indigenous anti-terror force | india | Hindustan Times
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Mehbooba calls disbanding of indigenous anti-terror force

india Updated: Apr 18, 2007 18:53 IST
Arun Joshi
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PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday called for immediate disbanding of the indigenous anti-terror force of village defense committees while ratcheting up campaign for immediate troops reduction in Jammu and Kashmir and declared that her party would pay any price to take it to its " logical conclusion."

She said that the VDCs needed to be disbanded because their creation has resulted in a" dangerous divide among the various communities and such a practice has to be done away with immediately."

"Instead the government must launch a massive recruitment drive in the police at the block-level to develop an organized force for taking on the future responsibilities of the internal security."

It is for the first time that any political party has called for the disbanding of the VDCs, which are guardian of villagers at the time of attack by terrorists and have been responsible for neutralizing terrorists in the hilly and remote areas. The VDC members are among the prime target of terrorists.

But there were complaints in a few cases here the VDC members had used their weapons to settle their score.

Mehbooba revived the campaign for demilitarization after a lull of more than a fortnight. She told a public rally at Kishtwar on Wednesday,; "A mechanism has been devised for the purpose and we are looking forward for early positive movement in this direction."

She made it clear that "as has been done in case of all other major policy issues concerning the people, PDP would take this issue also to its logical conclusion, at whatever cost."

This warning has come a come in a little over a fortnight after the party celebrated its " victory" over the constitution of the panels by the Centre to look into " reconfiguration and relocation" of troops in the State on March 30. Its anger is mounting as the government has not only constituted the committees, and Defence Minister AK Antony has ruled out troops reduction in the near future at army commanders conference in New Delhi on Monday.

Mehbooba said the "gradual withdrawal of armed forces from the State is a key component of the reconciliation and resolution process and the thinning of troops must start, sooner the better."

"The Government of India must grab the opportunity and relax the security situation in the State as the continued use of army and security forces is unfair to them as well as the people of the State," she said.