Omar hails Centre''s move for reduction of security forces

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PII) Hailing Centre''s proposal toreduce the number of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir,Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said that it is anachievable target but subject to review even as he indicatedthat more confidence building measures were on the anvil.

"It is a natural progression...we gradually want toreduce the footprint of the army and paramilitary forces andstart handing over more responsibility to J and K police," hesaid.

Omar was responding to questions on Home Secretary G KPillai''s statement that the Government was consideringreducing the strength of security forces deployed in J and Kby 25 per cent as a confidence building measure.

He said the central and state governments had in thepast also carried out troops reduction but last year theprocess had received a set back.

"But now that things are gradually normalizing, Ithink there is definitely scope for us to start moving in thatdirection..." Omar told television channels.

He said it was for the Unified Command to work out themodalities in consultations with the Centre. "Like any otherdecision, it (reduction of forces) is subject to review," hesaid.

Without elaborating, the Chief Minister said,"certainother steps are there in the pipeline".

Deriding BJP''s plan to hoist the tri-colour at LalChowk in Srinagar on Republic Day, Omar said why was the partysilent from 1992 to 2011.

Such a step, he said, was an "insult" to former PrimeMinister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who had made an honest bid torestore normalcy in the state.

He viewed as a positive development recent admissionby former Hurriyat Conference Chairman Abdul Ghani Bhatt thatseparatist leaders Mirwaiz Mohammed Farooq and Abdul GhaniLone were killed by "our own people" and not by securityforces.

The Chief Minister hoped that the separatists willjoin the dialogue process adding "We are not giving up". PTIAMR

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