J&K situation not as bad as projected: NSA

30 August 2008
The Hindu


New Delhi: Even as curfew and protests continue in Jammu and Kashmir following the Amarnath land row, the Centre feels the situation in the State is “far less serious” than “portrayed” and normality should return within “a week to 10 days.” National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan does not agree that the situation in Kashmir is similar to 1990 as is being suggested by various sections. “I think the [situation is] is far less serious than what is being portrayed but at the same time certainly something that we are very unhappy about,” he said on Karan Thapar’s ‘Devil’s Advocate’ programme on CNN-IBN. “I mean people have started comparing it with the 1990s and what not. Certainly the situation is nowhere around that,” he said. His comments came even as curfew continued to be imposed in Kashmir for the seventh day after a series of protests spearheaded by separatist leaders. The National Security Adviser, however, conceded that the recent developments had eroded the signs of improvement. “What is causing us concern is that four years of improvement in the situation, [we] believed that we have reduced levels of alienation, [there were] substantial signs of normalcy in the State. People had forgotten about issues,” he said. Mr. Narayanan said blockade of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway produced certain “concerns” among people in the Valley but there are visible signs of improvement in the situation. On the upcoming holy month of Ramzan, he said the government will have to do “relaxation of various kinds and various purposes so normalcy should be round the corner.” “We are hopeful that this could be achieved in the next one week to 10 days,” he said. He said the police were not involved in the killing of the Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz. He claimed that there was “concern” among the Hurriyat as they also probably knew the police were not behind it. Mr. Aziz was shot in the back while police were in the front during the Hurriyat-led “march to Muzaffarabad.’ — PTI