Omar hails Centre`s move for reduction of security forces

Hailing Centre`s proposal to reduce the number of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that it is an achievable target.

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2011, 00:49 AM IST

New Delhi: Hailing Centre`s proposal to
reduce the number of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir,
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said that it is an
achievable target but subject to review even as he indicated
that more confidence building measures were on the anvil.

"It is a natural progression...we gradually want to
reduce the footprint of the army and paramilitary forces and
start handing over more responsibility to J and K police," he
said.

Omar was responding to questions on Home Secretary GK
Pillai`s statement that the Government was considering
reducing the strength of security forces deployed in J&K
by 25 percent as a confidence building measure.

He said the central and state governments had in the
past also carried out troops reduction but last year the
process had received a set back.

"But now that things are gradually normalizing, I
think there is definitely scope for us to start moving in that
direction..." Omar told television channels.

He said it was for the Unified Command to work out the
modalities in consultations with the Centre. "Like any other
decision, it (reduction of forces) is subject to review," he
said.

Without elaborating, the Chief Minister said,"certain
other steps are there in the pipeline".

Deriding BJP`s plan to hoist the tri-colour at Lal
Chowk in Srinagar on Republic Day, Omar said why was the party
silent from 1992 to 2011.

Such a step, he said, was an "insult" to former Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had made an honest bid to
restore normalcy in the state.

He viewed as a positive development recent admission
by former Hurriyat Conference Chairman Abdul Ghani Bhatt that
separatist leaders Mirwaiz Mohammed Farooq and Abdul Ghani
Lone were killed by "our own people" and not by security
forces.

The Chief Minister hoped that the separatists will
join the dialogue process adding "We are not giving up".

PTI