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Misadventures by security forces fuel public alienation: PDP

Written by: Staff

Srinagar, July 3 (UNI) The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a ruling coalition partner in Jammu and Kashmir, today expressed serious concern over the sense of insecurity prevailing among the people due to the recent killing of innocent civilians, saying such ''misadventures by security forces'' have fuelled alienation and given rise to public unrest and outrage.

''Such incidents have cast a shadow of despair over the peace and the reconciliatory process. The consistent increase in such incidents is disturbing especially after the May 24 assurance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding the zero tolerance for human rights violations,'' PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said here.

In a statement here, she expressed grave concern over the killing of innocent civilians at Bandipora and Munawarabad and called for a comprehensive and careful plan of action to deal with the situation before it was too late.

''Urgent and tangible measures need to be taken to make the security forces accountable to restore the people's confidence and trust in the system. Such misadventures by the security forces have fuelled the alienation giving rise to public unrest and outrage,'' Ms Mufti added.

She said the spate in the civilian killings at Watlab, Zirhanma, Bandipora and Munawarabad followed by protests has unfortunately caused a great dent to the security situation and slowly eroding the gains of the relief the people had got since October 2002.

The PDP president said the silver-lining of the healing-touch philosophy put into action after the change of guard in 2002 was that a relaxed security situation had emerged in the state where people felt empowered, and slowly but steadily their faith and trust started rebuilding in democratic institutions which resulted in the massive voter turn-out during the municipal elections and then the Assembly bypoll.

''But, the recent acts of violence against the civilians has once again given rise to a sense of insecurity among the people and instead of consolidating on the conducive atmosphere created since October 2002, the situation seems to be dithering and intolerance and confrontation unfortunately is replacing the reconciliation process,'' she said.

Ms Mufti warned that if immediate measures were not taken to address the security concerns of the people, the situation could deteriorate further and thus offer an opportunity to the vested interests to exploit the same.

''In the war against terror, it is imperative that the people are taken along as they are the fountain-head of power and without their support the menace of violence could never be uprooted,'' she said.

Urging the Prime Minister to ensure that his pledge regarding the zero tolerance for human rights violations was put into action, Ms Mufti said the sincerity with which Dr Singh had made the commitment would show the desired results only if the security forces ensure that there was no recurrence of such ugly incidents that have taken place in the recent past.

The PDP chief said any confidence building measures with Pakistan would be rendered useless till a conducive atmosphere was created within the state where the people were in control of things and their life and dignity not threatened.

Such an environment was possible only when the security forces uphold the Prime Minister's pledge and do not allow recurrence of incidents such Watlab, Zirhama, Bandipora and Munawarabad, she said, adding this would be a great contribution to the peace process, which otherwise seems to be at the brink of collapse.


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