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No proposal to demilitarise J

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 15: Union Minister for Home Affairs Shivraj Patil today told the Lok Sabha that there would be no demilitaraisation or reduction of forces in Jammu and Kashmir until and unless terrorist activities ceased and there was peace and tranquility.

''Until killings have come down drastically and terrorism comes to an end, the decision (of demilitiraisation) would not be taken, as it would not be in the interest of the country to do so,'' the Minister categorically said, replying to an adjournment motion on the Doda killings, moved by the BJP.

Reiterating the statement made earlier by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, he said there was no proposal before the Government to demilitarise the State. However, Mr Patil said redeployment of forces could of course, be considered, depending on the suggestions from experts. However, he sought to make it clear that redeployment of forces did not mean withdrawal.

Strongly defending the process of dialogue initiated by the centre with the responsible individuals and leaders of the parties in the state he said this had helped the Government to know their points of view and to convey the Government's views to them. This could prepare a ground for some understanding to be be arrived at between the two and an agreement could be reached at a later date.

Stating that the Government has been listening to the Kashmiri leaders' points of view with due respect to them, Mr Patil said categorically that the Government would continue talking to them.

''There should be no opposition to the dialogue,'' he said.


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