Govt for 25% reduction in J&K troop levels: GK Pillai
Home Secretary GK Pillai also said that the govt is reviewing AFSPA in specific areas.
New Delhi: In a confidence building measure, the Centre is mulling a significant reduction in the number of troops posted in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government’s position on the issue was revealed by Home Secretary GK Pillai while speaking at a symposium on the `Way forward in Kashmir` organised by the Jamia Millia Islamia University here, he said, "There will be a 25 percent reduction of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, especially from populated areas,” adding that more bunkers would be removed from Srinagar.
Later talking to reporters, Pillai added, “It is one of the confidence building measure so that people are not ‘harassed’ by the presence of security forces and the situation be managed by local police.”
Importantly, Pillai also suggested that the government is reviewing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) with respect to the areas in which is in force. He said that AFSPA may be lifted from the urban areas after a review.
Pillai said the decisions in this regard are being taken in view of the recommendations given by the interlocutors appointed by Centre, adding that the final recommendation of the interlocutor team is expected by April.
The central government had appointed the interlocutors - journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, academician Radha Kumar and economist MM Ansari - in the wake of street protests in Kashmir and police action in which over 100 protesters were killed in the summer of 2010. The interlocutors were tasked with suggesting ways of bringing about sustained peace in the state.
Stressing on the need to gainfully employ the youth of the state, the Home Secretary said that the government has asked India Inc to employ the J&K youths outside the Valley as well.
“The Indian economy can hire 12,000 Kashmiris every year,” Pillai said
Kashmir witnessed huge protests in 2010 in which more than 100 people were killed in clashes between the forces and civilians.
There were reports that separatists fuelled the fire. Separatist groups especially those owing allegiance to Pakistan-terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashker-e-Toiba were alleged to have formed several groups to carry out attacks.
In their report - submitted their report to Home Minister P Chidamabaram on Jan 12- the interlocutors recommended expediting cases of undertrials, permitting peaceful protests and releasing militants and protesters against whom there are no serious charges, among others.
The group also recommended training of security forces, identifying jobs for young men and women in central and state government offices, announcing scholarships for Kashmiri students, enhancing monetary assistance to widows and orphans, efforts to trace missing persons and increasing monthly allowances to Kashmiri Pandits, the ministry said.
They will be visit the state for the fourth time from January 17.