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‘Troops killing Kashmir youth to bolster infiltration figures’

Srinagar, June 28, 2007 (Kashmir Newz Desk) :

Indian troops are killing Kashmiri boys who have shunned violence, in fake encounters on the ceasefire line to bolster infiltration figures, former Indian administered Kashmir chief minister and ruling ally Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Wednesday.

"It is a pity, that even the boys, who have shunned the path of violence and want to join back their families, are allegedly eliminated in fake encounters along the ceasefire line only to bolster the infiltration figures for obvious reasons," Sayeed said Wednesday addressing a public meeting at Chrar-e-Sharif in the central Kashmir district of Budgam.

Sayeed also called for a high level impartial probe into the recent incidents of "troops' highhandedness" at Bandipora with punishment to the guilty so that public confidence is restored.

According to reports, two Indian troopers had tried to molest a girl in a Bandipora hamlet on Tuesday, but the villagers caught hold of them and later paraded them naked for some distance.

Mufti also said that the continued adverse remarks of the Indian Defense Minister on troop cut had not only the potential of diluting Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh's initiative on Kashmir but that “these could also undermine the state's political and the constitutional authority”.

A spokesperson of the PDP quoted Sayeed as saying that the obstinate remarks of the Defence Minister tend to pre-empt the work of the two committees constituted by the Prime Minister for looking into the PDP's demand for troop reduction and revocation of the infamous Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

"It is very unfortunate that the Defense Minister is repeatedly jumping the gun even before receiving the formal inputs from the Defense Secretary, who is heading the two committees," he said.

Expressing resentment over the “incongruous way” the issue of troop cut and AFSPA revocation was being handled, Sayeed said ironically the Prime Minister's clear-cut declaration that the two committees would look into the issue, was followed up by an orchestrated series of comments by some quarters in New Delhi and Srinagar in an apparent attempt to stall the whole process.

Sayeed was referring to the current Indian administered Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and some extremist Hindu leaders of the state who have been constantly opposing the otherwise popular demands of demilitrisation and revocation of AFSPA.

"If the matter was left to the experts, the final opinion should also have come only after the two committees had submitted their report," he said and added that the barrage of anti-troop cut statements that followed the constitution of the committees strongly indicates a premeditated campaign to disrupt the initiative, without going into its merits.

Cautioning against disruptive politicking over the issue of troop reduction, Sayeed said what was needed at this crucial juncture was a spirited political wisdom and not hawkish rhetoric.

He said that through such statements were creating an impression that the democratic institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, for their very survival have to enduringly seek shelter under the shadow of gun.

"It is a dangerous trend and could certainly reverse the rejuvenating public faith in the democratic institutions and processes," he cautioned.

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