Antony promises incremental steps to improve situation in J

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New Delhi, Nov 1 (UNI) Promising incremental measures to improve the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Minister A K Antony today said all parties have hailed the decision to vacate schools, hostels and hospitals in the state by security forces by November 30.

Various political parties have been pressing for vacation of public utilities for quite some time and the government decision will go a long way in instilling confidence among the people.

During an informal talk with mediapersons here after his return from the state which he visited last week to have first hand experience of the ground realities, Mr Antony said the government was committed to normalising the situation in the border state.

He said the Defence Ministry was committed to keeping a close watch on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir, adding the state government, too, will keep an eye on it. Human rights violations will not be tolerated and situation on the front will be reviewed periodically, he added.

Meanwhile, Defence sources said the decision to vacate public utilities by November 30 will not affect the Army as most such buildings were being used by paramilitary forces like the Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force. They said Army troops kept shifting their locations and they were not occupying any school or hospital in the state.

People's Democratic Party and the National Conference among others have welcomed the government decision. This is in the line with the PDP demand that the Army should not be seen interfering in routine life of the people.

UNI

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