Schools, hospitals vacated in Kashmir ahead of Nov 30: Army

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Srinagar, Nov 22 (UNI) The Army today claimed to have vacated all school, college and hospital buildings in the strife-torn Kashmir valley, much ahead of the November 30 deadline fixed by Defence Minister A K Antony for withdrawal of troops from such institutions.

Addressing journalists on the fringes of a function at Awantipora in south Kashmir, XV Corps General Officer-in-Commanding (GOC) Lt Gen A S Sekhon said troops have been withdrawn from all educational and health institutions in the Kashmir valley.

''We have done so much ahead of the deadline set for doing so.'' The deadline to get the government infrastructure vacated from troops was fixed during a high-level meeting between the Defence Minister and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here on October 27.

Mr Antony said top priority has been accorded in getting the government infrastructure in Kashmir vacated by the security forces, and fixed November 30 this year as the deadline for troops to leave the school buildings and health institutions in the Valley.

On Mr Azad's request, the security forces were asked to vacate all school buildings and health infrastructure besides Kokernag tourist resort and the Nigeen club, currently under their use in the Kashmir valley, by November 30 this year.

Mr Antony told Mr Azad that the Defence Ministry would support any initiative for development of infrastructure in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir. It was decided that a Committee, comprising the Defence Secretary, the Union Home Secretary and the state Chief Secretary, would coordinate the matter.

The meeting was told as many as 72 government buildings have been vacated by the security forces in the Kashmir valley during the past two months. The buildings included school and health institutions.

The state government has identified some more buildings for early vacation by the security forces.

UNI

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