People in Poonch back troop deployment in Jammu and Kashmir

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Poonch, July 20 (ANI): Resident in Poonch district of Kashmir supported the deployment of troops, opposing demands of various separatist groups for demilitarisation of the state.

Separatist factions in the state have been pressing for withdrawal of the troops and for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which they term as draconian.

Residents said that it was easy for the political leaders to ask for demilitarisation as they stay under protective gear. The common men are shorn of any protection and need the forces to protect them.

"Those people who talk about demilitarisation have body guards around them to protect them. Who will protect us? We need troops to stay," Ghulam Hussain, a resident.

Villagers who have formed Village Defence Committees (VDCs) and cooperate with the army in fighting militancy in the region said that the political leaders should come and see the situation for themselves and then talk about withdrawal of troops from the region.

"We want to tell Mehbooba Mufti and Sayed Ali Shah Geelani to ask their children to spend one night with us to understand the situation here. This used to be a militant's stronghold and now if the troops are taken out from here then the militants will come in once again," said Tahir Fazal, a VDC member.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, during his recent visit to Srinagar had clarified that as violence ebbs in Kashmir, the government is planning to withdraw some troops from towns across the disputed Himalayan region. (ANI)

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