Centre mulling phased withdrawal of army from Kashmir hinterland: report

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

Srinagar, Feb 20: The centre is planning a phased withdrawal of army, which has been at the forefront of fighting militancy in Kashmir, from the Valley except from the Line of Control, almost three and a half years after the revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, reports from New Delhi quoting officials in security establishment have said.

They said that the situation on militancy front as well as law and order has improved in the hinterland in Kashmir prompting the authorities including union defence ministry, union home ministry, army and police to discuss over the possibility of army withdrawal which is now at an ‘advanced stage’.

The withdrawal will be in a phased manner with some districts taking prefrence over others and the security agencies will keep a track of the emerging situation.

The responsibility will be filled by CRPF which have a strength of 60,000 in the union territory as against 1,30,000 army personnel including 45,000 RR personnel involved in counter insurgency operations. The police is some 80,000 strong in the region. All the three security agencies are involved in counter insurgency operations.

“The matter is under serious discussion at inter-ministerial level and it is understood to be feasible. In a way, the decision has been taken and it is a matter of when it will be done. Ultimately, however, it will be a political call,” a senior security establishment officer was quoted in a report.

The authorities want a manifestation of normalcy to be actually visible in the valley where militancy related violence and killings have greatly reduced, so have incidents of law and order situations and stone pelting. The report quoting a union home ministry official said: ‘A large presence of the Indian Army in the hinterland would sit oddly with claims of normalcy’.__GK News