January 2008 News

Troops' deployment in Kashmir lowest: Sinha

25 January 2008
The Daily Excelsior

JAMMU: Governor Lt. General (Retd) S K Sinha today cautioned against security forces lowering their guard, saying that terrorist infrastructure in PoK is intact and conditions in Pakistan are most volatile, having risk of spilling over to our side. In his telecast on the eve of 58th Republic Day anniversary, the Governor while greeting the people, said ‘‘we cannot lower our guard, whether on the borders or in the interior’’. Lt Gen Sinha said the ratio of deployment of troops, Army and para military, to population in the State, excluding militancy free Ladakh, is 1 to 40. This is less than 1 to 37 in Waziristan in Pakistan and 1 to 28 in Tibet. He, however, added that once peace is restored in the State and infiltration from across the border ceases, the Government and the Army, will be only too happy to return the troops deployed for internal security back to barracks. In that event reduction in the strength would be considered. However, he said, that would not apply to troops guarding our borders with Pakistan and China. Cautioning against the challenge of terrorism, which has taken international dimensions, the Governor said that the neighbouring country has been the epi-centre of international terrorism, where from terrorism has been exported to its two neighbours. Almost all acts of terrorism across the world have Pakistan connection, and now Pakistan itself has become the worst victim of that great menace. ‘‘This shows terrorism is a monster, which ultimately eats the hand that feeds it,’’ he added. Lt Gen Sinha said Pakistan is not only in a web of terrorist violence but also sectarian conflict, ethnic antagonism and political instability. ‘‘The lesson we need to learn from all this, is to fight unitedly the monster of terrorist violence and the demon of religious fanaticism. We must reinforce our faith in our rich heritage of Kashmiriyat, to successfully counter this menace’’, he maintained while wishing the people of Pakistan to come out of the grave crisis they were embroiled in. ‘‘We wish they overcome their present trauma and enjoy the fruits of peace, prosperity and democracy. While wishing them well, we must draw appropriate lessons from the happenings in Pakistan. Terrorism is a monster that eats the hand that feeds it. Both the USA and Pakistan sponsored international terrorism in Afghanistan, based on religious fundamentalism. It rebounded on the USA on 9-11 and on Pakistan in the current turmoil there. The USA has the resources and resilience to withstand the terrorist onslaught. Pakistan does not have the same capability,’’ the Governor said. He lauded the valour of security forces in carrying out their difficult task in the State and said they have been showing immense restraint while dealing with the situation. He said that unlike helicopter gunships and artillery being freely used in Baluchistan, Waziristan, Iraq and Afghanistan, there has not been a single instance of the use of such weapons in the State. He also referred to the safe passage and rescue of devotees held hostage by militants in a mosque in Kulgam village without any damage to the mosque. Almost at the same time on the holy day of Eid, terrorists attacked a mosque at Sherpao village in NWFP killing 54 people and damaging the mosque. Terrorists have also been attacking and damaging holy shrines in our State, notably Chrar-e-Sharief and Raghunath Temple. ‘‘This shows how anti-religion they have been, though they claim to be Jehadis. Not only that, they have also been slitting throats of innocent civilians including in one case of a child, four and a half years old. Even a hard core separatist leader and their arch supporter, has condemned such barbaric acts as un-Islamic,’’ he said. General Sinha also paid tributes to the people of the State for facing the brunt of terrorism with courage and fortitude. He said with their unflinched cooperation, there has been a turnaround in the situation and incidents of violence have substantially reduced. These came down from 1684 in 2006 to 1056 in 2007.The number of people who got killed came down from over 10 a day, during the peak year, to less than 2 per day. ‘‘This considerable improvement has been possible due to the success and sacrifice of our Security Forces and the assistance of the people. I salute the memory of the martyrs of our Security Forces and our innocent civilians who fell victims to terrorist violence. We can now see the light at the end of the dark tunnel’’, the Governor said. He added that the State is marching towards peace, progress and prosperity as several initiatives have been taken to ensure development of all the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2007, massive development measures were kick started, the link of which had never happened before. 2006 should see this gigantic effort flowering improving the quandary of life of our people. He said a crusade is also on against corruption to ensure that funds for development do not get siphoned off.

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