Situation in Jammu and Kashmir may benefit terrorists: army officer
8 August 2008
The Hindustan Times
: The current turbulent situation in Jammu and Kashmir over the Amarnath land row could work to the advantage of terrorists in the state, a senior army commander warned in Jammu on Friday. 'Our biggest fear is that terrorists could trigger blasts among the protesters and cause huge loss to the life and property of the people,' Lt Gen Vinay Sharma, General Officer Commanding 9 Corps, told newspersons in Jammu. Army personnel are deployed from Lakhanpur, which is considered the gateway to the state, to Jammu and the soldiers are guarding the Jammu-Pathankot highway and the railway track in the area. Sharma said that the protesters were perhaps not aware of the designs of the terrorists. 'They (terrorists) can go to any extent to cause damage to the people,' he said. He made it clear that the soldiers would be on streets and highways only as long as the situation requires. 'Once the situation stabilises, we will be back to our places,' Sharma said. About 10,000 soldiers from 9 Corps are out in Jammu. They are essentially providing security to trucks and passenger vehicles entering the state. 'There is no economic blockade. There is no truth in these expressions,' he said. Several leaders in Kashmir are using the phrase 'economic blockade' to fuel tensions in the Kashmir valley, leaders in Jammu said. Hari Om, spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said that these leaders are working at the behest of Pakistan to foment trouble in Kashmir. 'There is no difference between (Peoples Democratic Party president) Mehbooba Mufti and (Hurriyat Conference leader) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.' Governor NN Vohra told mediapersons in Jammu on Thursday that there was no economic blockade, only 'traffic disruption' and that too has been removed. The state government's decision in May this year to allot about 40 hectares of forest land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) for pilgrim facilities led to violent protests in the valley. As the government revoked the order July 1, protests broke out in the Jammu region, threatening to divide the border state along communal lines.