Keran Encounter A Sensitive, International Issue: JK Speaker

Keran Encounter A Sensitive, International Issue: JK Speaker

4 October 2013
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: The Legislative Assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul Friday described the Keran gunfight as a “sensitive, national and international issue” after legislators from the National Panthers Party and the Bhartiya Janata Party demanded that the Government should clear whether the ongoing encounter at Shalbato in Kupwara district is “infiltration or that Kargil is being repeated.” The NPP and BJP legislators raised anti-Pakistan and anti-Coalition slogans, stating that “territorial integrity of J&K was in danger.” They also staged a walkout to register their protest. “Army can tell the exact situation about Keran. How can the Government make a statement on this? Keran is a sensitive issue. It is a national, international issue,” the Speaker said in the Legislative Assembly today. Earlier, as soon as the House met, NPP and BJP legislators raised the Keran issue. “For the past 10 days, situation is tense in Keran sector. There are reports that another Kargil is being repeated there. Reports also suggest that infiltrators are backed by Pakistani army,” said NPP leader Harsh Dev Singh. He said there can be no compromise on the territorial integrity of the State. “We want the government to come clean as to whether another Kargil is being repeated? Government should issue a statement on this,” Singh said. He was backed by BJP legislators Ashok Khajuria and Jugal Kishore who also demanded a Government statement over the issue. The Speaker urged them not to “pressurize the government to issue a statement as it is the army that is dealing with the incident.” “I told you it is the army and the Defence ministry that can make statements on what is happening in Keran sector,” Gul said. Not satisfied by the Speaker’s remarks, NPP and BJP legislators raised anti-Pakistan and anti-coalition slogans. They also staged a walkout. They later joined back the proceedings. Pertinently there is a significant amount of confusion prevailing in Army as to whether the men hiding in Keran sector are militants or Pakistani soldiers. Pakistan has already denied its involvement in the encounter. “There is lot of confusion about who the fighters are. Recovery of body or any document could clear the air,” a senior Army officer had told Greater Kashmir yesterday. “Around two infantry units of Army are involved in the operation.”