New Delhi: Home Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday said there was reliable intelligence that militants may have mingled with crowds and fired at security forces in Jammu and Kashmir where a "cycle of violence" has raged for more than 50 days.
"There have been instances where the security forces have been fired upon by someone in the protesting crowds. There is reliable intelligence that some armed militants may have mingled with the crowds and fired at the security forces," he said in a statement in the Lok Sabha on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Extending his support to the J&K government and appealing for the people to have faith in their government, Chidambaram said that the security forces were exercising maximum restraint in the state.
"It is my duty to point out that security forces conducted themselves with commendable restraint in a highly volatile situation. They have shown courage and fortitude," he said.
Making a statement in the Lok Sabha on the situation in the state which has seen cyclical violence for the last two months, Chidambaram said the Centre “deeply regrets the loss of civilian lives.”
He informed the House that there had been 39 civilian deaths since June 11. At least 1,266 security men had been injured in mob attacks, he added.
“Security forces are exercising maximum restraint. They are sometimes compelled to use force to protect public property and defend themselves,” he said.
He said security forces have been asked to deal with the crowds in a restrained manner.
Shockingly, he revealed that armed militants were mingling with the protesting crowds.
In a "special appeal" to parents, he said, "your children`s safety and welfare is our paramount consideration -- as it must be yours -- and I would urge you to ensure that they do not join the violent protests."
Agreeing that the state needs political measures to redress the situation, the minister extended support to the call of peace by J&K CM Omar Abdullah for that to happen.
“Jammu and Kashmir government is actively considering a number of political and administrative measures to restore normalcy in the state. The CM has asked for peace to take more steps and the Centre endorses his appeal.
He said Abdullah had Centre`s support in restoring law and order, holding a dialogue, redressing genuine grievances and ensuring equity, justice and honour for all sections of the state.
“Issues of Kashmir are our own issues. Government has always favoured dialogue with all parties and the same was started in 2009. Once peace is restored in Kashmir, I am confident that we can explore the possibility of reactivating the political process that holds the key to solutions,” he said, adding that the people needed to have faith in their government to solve their problems.
Mindless violence and disruption of peace will not lead to any solution, he said.
As he closed his statement, chairman of the NDA LK Advani rose up to ask for the measures that the government had initiated.
After five days of violence and arson, Kashmir valley was today relatively peaceful barring stray incidents and one episode of firing at a stone pelting mob by security personnel here in the night in which one person was killed.
The restrictions continued for the sixth day in all the ten districts of the Valley which has witnessed a spurt in violence.
One person was killed after security personnel fired at a stone-pelting mob at Nund Reshi colony in Bemina here in the night, police said.
The mob was pelting stones and was turning violent and repeated cane-charging and teargassing failed to defuse the situation.
Five persons were killed and at least 20 policemen were injured yesterday in violent incidents which have so far claimed the lives of 28 people since Friday last.