'Significant' chunk of forces to be withdrawn from J&K | india | Hindustan Times
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'Significant' chunk of forces to be withdrawn from J&K

india Updated: Dec 02, 2009 23:21 IST
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The government on Wednesday announced withdrawal of a "significant" number of battalions of central forces from Jammu and Kashmir in a significant confidence-building measure following the initiative for holding "quiet" dialogue with separatist groups.

Home Minister P Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha that the decision had been taken in view of improvement of law and order situation in the state.

He also sought to reach out to separatist outfits of North East like ULFA and Naxal groups, saying the government was ready to hold dialogue if they abjured violence.

Replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha on internal security, he said the government would maintain zero tolerance towards terrorism, whether it is in the shape of 'jihadi' violence of Hindu extremist violence.

He said India remains vulnerable to terrorism as he noted that outfits like Lashkar-e Taiba have forged alliances with Al-Qaida and Pakistan has not changed its attitude.

On situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Chidambaram said violence in the state has been the lowest this year and the Centre is willing to take "what appears to be a risky step of withdrawing a significant number of battalions of security forces" and hand over law and order to the state police.

He said the process has already been initiated but refused to quantify the personnel being withdrawn.

The announcement would be a major confidence-building measure offered by the government which has initiated "quiet" dialogue with separatist groups.