35,000 Troops Withdrawn From JK: Omar18 March 2010
New Delhi: The Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, on Thursday said that 35000 troops had been withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir since the National Conference-Congress coalition took over the reins of the state in January last. “Nearly 35,000 soldiers have been withdrawn and their camps closed in the state since we took over,” Omar told the Legislative Assembly while replying to the debate on the grants of Home, General Administrative Department, Planning and Development and Power Development Departments. “We did this slowly and without launching a campaign to gain popularity,” he said. The Chief Minister said that as and when the security situation improves, the army footprints would be decreased. The strength of the paramilitary forces, including CRPF and BSF, has been decreased. CRPF has replaced army and the force has been assigned the job to sanitize the Srinagar-Jammu highway. “We have removed several bunkers in Srinagar city and did not allow construction anymore,” he said and added that the state police was being brought at the forefront for security duty. INCREASE IN INFILTRATION BY 98% Referring to the security situation, Omar said, there has been increase in militancy-related incidents in 2010 and seeds of this increase were sown in 2009. “One worrying aspect of the security scenario is that the net infiltration has increased by above 98 per cent during 2009 as compared to the year 2008”, he said. Moreover, there were inputs indicating that many more militants were waiting across the Line of Control (LoC) at different launching pads, he said. MORE THAN 550 MILITANTS ACTIVE “About 550-575 militants are presently active in the state and the overall security situation for last two years has improved as there has been a decline of 29.52 per cent in militancy-related incidents,” Omar said. Nearly 708 militancy-related incidents were reported in 2008 and 499 incidents in 2009, he said. POLICE ON FOREFRONT Omar said that it was his government brought the state police on forefront by minimizing the presence of security forces in the areas where situation has improved. “We have not turned the security forces’ bunkers into concrete structure as was done by the previous government”, he said. Omar said that the security forces have been instructed to avoid civilian causalities in anti-insurgency operations “even if it leads to escape of militants”. Regarding the demand about compensation to the victims of Sopur encounter, in which several residential structures were destroyed, he said, “We have assured that compensation will be paid to each family”. Incidents of Human Right Violations, Omar said, had reduced considerably in the state during the past one-year and opposition should appreciate it. “I have been accused of begging before the central government to seek arrest of the BSF commandant accused of killing the Nishat teenager, Zahid Farooq”, he said adding, “Main Is Kay Liye Eik Bar Nahin, So Bar Bhi Bheek Mangnai Kay Liye Tayar Hoon”. Referring to the stone-pelting in Kashmir Valley, he said, “I am unable to understand who are their (stone-pelters’) supporters especially when Mufti Azam Kashmir and even Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani have condemned it in clear words”. REHABILITATION OF STONE-PELTERS ON CARDS Chief Minister said a policy for rehabilitation of stone pelters is in the offing. “We have not announced any policy in this regard outside the Assembly”, Omar said while reacting to the allegation of the Opposition that rehabilitation policy for stone pelters has been formulated by the police. He further said: “if those holding guns can be rehabilitated why not stone pelters they are ours. I do not want to arrest anyone (stone pelters), but I am forced to take such steps.” Omar said that Masjid and Mohalla committees had come forward with their guarantees for release of the arrested youth. POLICE MODERNISATION Envisaging a modern police department in the state, Omar said that his government was contemplating to replace the existing Act with Modern Police Act. “We want to bring the reforms in police in true sense”, he said while adding that the decades old Act in the state was not sufficient to meet present day requirements. He assured the House that the government would take adequate measures to reform Prison’s department. “More than 500 inmates in various jails across the state are presently getting education and vocational training”, he said. POLICE RATION ALLOWANCE ENHANCED The chief minister announced increase in the 'Ration Allowance of all the policemen from existing Rs 600 to Rs 1000. He said that the Special Police Officers (SPO) would get the benefit of SRO 43 at par with the regular police personnel. “If any SPO is killed while fighting militants, his family would get the benefit”, he said adding, “Even the government was regularizing the SPOs at various levels wise. TAKES ON PDP Chief Minister, accused PDP of levelling baseless allegations against Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). “You may resort to mud slugging as much as you can, If you plan to sit in opposition for the lifetime”, Omar said while pointing towards the opposition benches. “You must keep in mind that tomorrow you may be on this side and will have to approach CBI .You have levelled unfounded allegations on premier investigation agency of country. It neither suits the government nor the opposition,” he said, adding, “ Don’t play politics over dead bodies.” CORRUPTION Omar said that his government plans to strictly implement Publicmen and Publicwomen Act of 1983 alongwith Benami Transaction Act to reduce chance of corruption in the public sectors. He said that the Act of 1983 envisages that any person who becomes a public figure has to declare his or her assets within 3-months and in January every year. “If this Act is implemented in its true spirit alongside of Binami Transaction Act, passed recently, there would hardly be any scope for corruption”. Omar said 343 cases of corruption were registered against government officials by the State Vigilance Department during past four years. He said that out of 343 cases registered between January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2009, 175 cases were registered in which public servants were caught red-handed while accepting bribe. He further said that 42 cases were registered against public servants for being in possession of disproportionate assets. SVO has also referred 292 cases to the government for accord of sanction for the prosecution, he said adding out of these prosecution sanctions were accorded in 242 by the government and in 21 cases by autonomous bodies and PSUs. Out of 343 cases registered by the state vigilance, 181 cases have been challaned before anti-corruption courts in Jammu and Srinagar. In 38 cases, conviction was awarded during the period by the courts of special judges anti-corruption in Jammu and Srinagar. WORKING GROUP REPORTS TO BE TABLED IN HOUSE Omar announced that his government would table recommendation of all the working groups constituted by the Prime Minister before the House. “All the five working groups recommendations, including Justice Sageer committee report, would be tabled before the House for discussion”, he said adding that the recommendations were presently with the central government. AMENDMENT IN PANCHYAT RAJ ACT He said that the government was also contemplating to amend the existing Panchayat Raj Act so that the provision for nomination category could be abolished. POWER REFORMS Omar said that the delay in execution of work on the prestigious Sawlakote power project had cost the state Rs 10,000 Crore so far but his government was taking steps to restart the work. “The government has taken several measures to introduce power reforms, including enacting a new legislation, in the state, which is one of biggest challenge.” “We are aware about the unscheduled power curtailments across the state and steps are being taken to minimize the same”, he said adding, “I have directed the concerned authorities that the department should strictly adhere to the New year power curtailment schedule to be announced soon”. INDUS WATER TREATY Expressing surprise over the hue and cry being raised by some political parties over the loss suffered by the state due to Indus Water Treaty, Omar said, “Surprisingly the state has not so far accessed the loss suffered by it till date”. He said that the state had asked the Government of India Public Sector Undertaking to access the loss so that further steps could be taken. “However, due to some unknown reason we have not received any reply so far”, he said adding, “Now we have decided to go ahead with hiring the service of a private undertaking”. He said that once the state was able to know the loss suffered by it can take up the matter with the central government.