Centre may bring back at least 10,000 troops from J-K

New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) The Centre plans to withdrawnearly 10,000 paramilitary personnel from Jammu and Kashmirthis year as it feels that the state can do with less centralforces.

It also said that amendments to the Armed ForcesSpecial Powers Act (AFSPA) are still on the table and hopesthe committee of the Unified Headquarters in the statedeclares some areas in the state as "not disturbed" to makethe controversial law redundant in those parts.

"There is scope of reduction of troops is the HomeMinistry''s view. There are more than adequate forces inKashmir and it can do with less central forces," Union HomeSecretary G K Pillai told PTI.

When asked how many personnel are being pulled outfrom the state, he said in 2009, the centre pulled out 10battalions (10,000 men) from the state. Last year, it did nottake out any because of the agitation from June to September.

"I think this year, we can easily take out 10battalions if not more. Irrespective of the situation, I cantake out 10 battalions and it would not have any impact.

"We have about 70 battalions in Kashmir and we have 62battalions in seven Left-wing affected states which are bigstates.... I think if I can take out, I will try to pull outas many as I can," he said.

On the amendments on AFSPA, whose withdrawal has beendemanded by the state, he said this is an issue which has tobe decided politically.

"But OK, even if it is not done I think you can moveforward and say some parts of Kashmir need not be declareddisturbed," he said.

Pillai said that if there was no change being made inthe AFSPA than the area can be denotified (as disturbed) andthe law will not be applicable there.

"You keep the act as it is which is what the Army saysdon''t meddle with the Act but if you want me (Army) to act, Ineed that Act... You see law and order situation in Srinagarhas improved. Anyway, Army is not in Srinagar. They are notoperating in Budgam.

"You say remove it from there.... That area is nolonger disturbed. This is a notification of the stategovernment not a state notification by Central Government,"the Home Secretary said.

He said the proposals for amendments in the AFSPA werebefore the Cabinet Committee on Security.

The Home Secretary allayed fears that violence mayreturn in the Kashmir Valley, saying several major steps havebeen taken post-September last year.

"All-party meeting, interlocutors, two reports of theTask Force of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh reports havecome. We got this employment committee report of Dr Ranjarajanthat is expected this month. I think a lot of things areslowly changing. It is not fast enough as we would like," hesaid.

Pillai said there was a need to reach out to people ofKashmir and not just reaching out to mainstream politicalparties. .

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