While commending the role of security forces in combating terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday admitted that there has been an increase in terrorism-related incidents in the state.
Sixty five terrorist incidents have taken place in the state in the first 45 days of this year, Chidambaram said at a press conference after reviewing the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting of the unified command, a strategic group comprising representatives of the army, paramilitary forces, police and intelligence agencies.
"In these incidents, seven civilians, nine security personnel and 24 militants have been killed," he said, but felt that the "security forces were making gradual progress, and the situation was improving."
The home minister was on a day's visit to Jammu. He has since flown back to Delhi.
He commended the role of security forces. "They are dealing with the situation with great caution and wisdom."
The home minister made it clear that zero tolerance would be exhibited towards human rights violations. Evidence of that was the arrest of a Border Security Force trooper who was suspected to be behind the killing of Kashmiri teen Zahid Farooq.
"The commandant has been suspended and investigations are on," Chidambaram said.
At the unified command meeting, sources said, the home minister took stock of the situation on the borders and also in the hinterland. He urged security forces to neutralize militants but avoid collateral damage.
The minister also assured security to players visiting India.
"Full protection will be provided to each player, each coach and each official," the home minister said in response to a question on the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami (HuJI) warning sportspersons against visiting India.
The message from Illyas Kashmiri, a HuJI commander in Pakistan having close ties with Al Qaeda, was sent to Asia Times Online Monday, two days after the Pune bombing which killed 11 people.
"No one would be allowed to dictate terms to us on our course of action," Chidambaram said.
The minister also held discussions with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on the proposed surrender and rehabilitation policy for militants returning from Pakistan administered Kashmir.
"We have asked the centre to prepare a draft of this policy," the home minister said.
"There is nothing sinister in the policy," said Chidambaram, who arrived here less than a week after announcing the acceptance of the state's amnesty policy.