Ensure free, peaceful and fair polls, Antony to officials, forces

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Srinagar, Jun 17 (UNI) Asking government officials and security forces to make all efforts to ensure peaceful, free and fair assembly polls later this year, Defence Minister A K Antony today said the coming months are going to be crucial.

There are forces within and outside the state which will make efforts to thwart the process of holding free and fair elections in the state, Mr Antony said at a high level meeting here this afternoon.

The meeting was called to review the security situation in the state and progress made on the recommendations of the Expert Panel Committee, a defence ministry spokesman said after the meeting.

Mr Antony complimented the security forces for their sacrifice and determined efforts which have helped in bringing down the level of militant related violence not only in the valley but also in the State.

He called upon the security forces to achieve the objective of neutralising the militancy with minimum inconvenience to the people.

In this regard, he also asked the security forces to vacate all remaining public buildings and ensure that human rights are not violated in the process.

The Defence Minister also said security forces alone can not provide lasting peace, stability and prosperity. For this, the people have to realise that peace alone pays dividends.

He said the Centre will provide all support to make Jammu and Kashmir one of the frontline states in development.

However, he said what the State needs today is continued stability and peace for greater development and prosperity.

Mr Antony said Ministry of Defence has acceded to all the requests made by the State Government in the last meeting in Srinagar.

UNI BAS ARB KN2020

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