Kashmir encounters do not signify return of militancy in J&K: CM

Last Updated: Saturday, January 9, 2010 - 14:06

New Delhi: Downplaying the terrorist
encounter at Lal Chowk in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief
Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said security forces engaged the
militants on the basis of credible intelligence inputs and the
incidents did not signify revival of militancy.

"Both the operations were initiated by the security
forces and not terrorists. There were credible intelligence
information," he told reporters here, contending that the
incidents got so much attention only because it took place in
Srinagar.

These were part of surgical strikes, he said.

Abdullah said though he could not claim that militancy
had died down in Kashmir, violence was prevalent in the state
as much as in any other part of the country, including the
Maoist-affected states.

"This should not be a reason for investors to shy away
from the state," he said earlier in an emotional appeal to
delegates at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas here. "Kashmir is more
than just a beautiful or a dangerous place."

"If violence doesn`t stop you from investing in Maoist-
hit states, then why not (invest in) Kashmir," he questioned,
adding that Jammu and Kashmir was suffering because people had
a perception about it being a terrorist-affected state.

In the Lal Chowk encounter, security personnel stormed a
hotel where terrorists had taken shelter on being challenged
and gunned down two militants on Thursday, while yesterday two
terrorists were killed in an encounter in Pulwama district in
South Kashmir.

The Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said that his
priority was to address the problem of massive unemployment in
his state which was growing day-by-day due to a marked
difference in the number of "unemployed and the unemployable".

There were very few skills which make them attractive for
the job market, he said, adding that because Jammu and Kashmir
doesn`t have adequate manpower, any new industry which is set
up seeks skilled people from the outside.

Lamenting that his state could not compete with states
like Gujarat and Maharashtra, Abdullah said, "I am sure given
opportunities, we can compete with many other states which
have already had a headstart on us".

"We want to rebuild our association with the world and
want to show that Jammu and Kashmir is not a dangerous place,"
he said.

Abdullah requested the diaspora to come and visit the
state and decide for themselves the security scenario there.

"I don`t have enormous expectations. I just want people
to come and give us fair opportunity," he added.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, January 9, 2010 - 14:06

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