PDP to question Centre on troops reduction
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PDP to question Centre on troops reduction

People Democratic Party is going to question Delhi on the lack of initiative to reduce troops and scrap their special powers in J&K, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: May 05, 2007 16:22 IST
Arun Joshi

People Democratic Party is going to question Delhi on the lack of initiative to reduce troops and scrap their special powers in Jammu and Kashmir, even though it has been more than a month after an announcement has been made by panels to examine the issue.

The Centre had announced three panels on March 30 to deliberate on these issues, following which PDP leadership had withdrawn its threat to pull out of the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. But the "absence of action" on the ground is making it impatient.

"We want troops reduction to start soon." PDP patron and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who is visiting Delhi next week has stated at his recent party meeting.

He has underlined his Delhi visit agenda in the reiteration of the demand and quick action on that.

"New Delhi will have to move fast on reduction of troops and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as such measures are now unavoidable," Mufti said as he called for "phasing out" dependence on the security forces and draconian laws by strengthening the civil society institutions in the State."

"Even one of the Working Groups, constituted by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has strongly recommended revocation of AFSPA and dealing with the situation through the normal laws of the land," he reminded the Centre that had promised to constitute three panels to examine these issues.

"We have a genuine question as to what happened to panels," PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told Hindustan Times over phone. The first panel, which was to look into vacation of civilian properties, has been constituted, but what about the other panels which were to suggest withdrawal of troops and doing away with the special powers of security forces.

She said that in Jammu and Kashmir, it appeared as if the "security forces had got a license to kill."

The PDP is reviving its campaign at the conclusion of the Uttar Pradesh elections and also because of the pinch it is facing at Kashmir's political landscape, where mainstream and separatist rivals have started asking questions of PDP, " what happened to the troops reduction".

Moreover, it is miffed the way there are, what it calls, "contradictory voices" emanating on the issue from the Central and the State leadership.

Pointing out this, Mufti Sayeed has said that, "While UPA leadership is trying to rightly project the real picture of sharply declining violence levels, some politicians are unfortunately trying to paint a gloomy picture of the situation, only to score political points."

"Such paradoxical proclamations, ironically, would only complicate the problems confronting the State and its people," he said.

First Published: May 05, 2007 16:18 IST