Reduce troops from J&K before it is too late: PDP to GoI

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Srinagar, Oct 20 (UNI) The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a key coalition partner in the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, today strongly condemned the ''cold-blooded murder'' of a teacher by the Army in Kupwara district yesterday and urged the Centre to reduce troops in the state ''before it is too late.'' In a statement here, a PDP spokesman said such ''gruesome'' incidents were not only intolerable in a democratic set-up, but also detrimental for peace and normalisation process.

Despite assurances at the highest level regarding zero tolerance for human rights violations, the recurrence of such incidents only ''exposes the hollowness of these claims'' fueling public unrest and outrage, he added.

The spokesman said probing such ''horrible'' incidents on case-to-case basis was now proving inadequate. The responsibility lies with the political leadership of the country and the state to provide a fool-proof mechanism for preventing recurrence of such incidents, he added.

The spokesman said it was the PDP's consistent view that the continued presence of troops in civilian areas proved counter- productive and steps must be taken to withdraw the armed forces from inhabited areas and hand-over the responsibility to the police.

Instead of being applauded for their commendable job in bringing peace to the state, the troops were now frequently becoming the target of the public wrath for such actions, he added.

''It is the right time that the Government of India take measures for reduction of troops in Jammu and Kashmir before it is too late,'' the spokesman said.

UNI

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