Army appeal not to pay heed to Hurriyat`s call

The Army asked people not to pay heed to the call given by hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Geelani to march towards the security forces` camps in the Valley on September 21 to press for demilitarisation of the state.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2010, 17:06 PM IST

Srinagar: The Army on Thursday asked people not to pay heed to the call given by hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to march towards the security
forces` camps in the Valley on September 21 to press for demilitarisation of the state.

"The Army makes a sincere appeal to people to avoid being misled by the Hurriyat leaders and avoid confronting Army garrisons or vehicles," Defence spokesman Lt Colonel JS Brar told reporters here.

The spokesman even asked the Hurriyat Conference to withdraw its protest programme in order to prevent loss of life or property.

The Army appeal comes a day after top security and civil officials met here to devise a strategy to tackle the separatist programme for September 21.

A special core group meeting was chaired by security adviser to the chief minister Lt Gen NC Marwah, where measures were discussed to effectively counter the protest calendar
issued by the Hurriyat. A detailed joint strategy was formulated to restore normalcy in Kashmir.

Although the spokesperson did not elaborate, highly placed sources said as part of the strategy, the security forces will reduce movement to avoid confrontation with
protesters.

"The whole idea is not to be in confrontation with the crowds to avoid loss of life and property. Maximum restraint on part of the security forces was emphasised and all agencies concerned were directed to ensure that the message percolates to their personnel on ground," the sources said.

The meeting was held in response to the call given by
Geelani to people to march towards the security forces` camps
on September 21 to press for demilitarisation of the state.

Asserting that Army has been at the forefront of rescue
and relief missions during natural calamities, Lt Colonel Brar
said "Army will continue to work for the safety, welfare and
empowerment of the people".

"The Hurriyat is indeed misleading the ordinary masses
and trying to create a wedge between army and the people for
its vested interests. People should avoid falling into the
trap laid by Hurriyat leaders," he said.

The spokesman said the Hurriyat programme of protesting
outside Army camps was a deliberate attempt to embroil the
army in the ongoing agitation and distract it from its primary
role of guarding the borders and countering insurgency.

Meanwhile, Geelani told reporters at his residence that
his programme is peaceful and there is no plan to attack the
security forces camps.

"We only want to tell the forces that they will have to
leave this land one day. The elders of the respective areas
will lead the marches and hand over memoranda to the army
personnel in this regard," he added.

PTI