Hurriyat welcomes proposed reduction in troops in J-K

Srinagar, Jan 14 (PTI) The moderate Hurriyat factiontoday welcomed the proposed reduction in troops in Jammu andKashmir as a "positive step", saying it will help in improvingthe ground situation and create a conducive atmosphere forcomposite dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"The statement of Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillaion reduction of troops is a positive step," Hurriyat chairmanMirwaiz Umar Farooq said addressing a Friday congregation atJamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar.

The Hurriyat has already proposed gradual withdrawalof troops to commence from cities and thickly populated areasfor improving the ground situation and create conduciveatmosphere for a composite dialogue to resolve Kashmir, theMirwaiz said.

He said Hurriyat will welcome any step aimed atreducing the tension between India and Pakistan which willpave way for resolution of outstanding issues especiallyKashmir.

"We understand that in the civilised world, dialogueis the only way to address issues through peaceful means," hesaid.

The Mirwaiz said the upcoming meetings between Indianand Pakistani foreign secretaries and foreign ministers is a"good omen".

Other separatists, however, gave a guarded response.

"We will monitor the implementation process beforemaking a stand on the reduction of the troops," JKLF ChairmanMohammad Yasin Malik said.

Democratic Freedom Party President Shabir Ahmad Shahsaid, "We have heard similar announcements in the past but thesituation on the ground remained unchanged.

"If New Delhi is sincere and serious in its latestannouncement, we will welcome such a move," Shah said andcalled for complete withdrawal of troops from the state.

"Only time will decide the sincerity of India," Shahadded.

Addressing a seminar at Jamia Milia Islamia Universityin New Delhi, Pillai today said, "As a confidence buildingmeasure in Jammu and Kashmir, the strength of the securityforces would come down by 25 per cent. We would like to reduceit as soon as possible depending on the ground situation."

The Mirwaiz said the situation and the historic factsdemand that "serious, fruitful and bold steps" are taken withregard to Kashmir issue.

"Once the Kashmir issue is resolved in accordance withthe wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir, otherissues will get automatically addressed," the chair,an of themoderate Hurriyat said.

He said the entire world supports dialogue betweenthe two nuclear powers.

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