PDP warns central government against delay in troop reduction


Jammu : The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a partner in the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, Saturday warned the central government of negative consequences if there is any delay in the reduction of troops from the state.

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PDP patron and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said there has been no substantial progress after the central government constituted committees March end to remove troops from orchards and other civilian properties.

"Any move to hold back this confidence building process would have highly negative consequences for the state and the region," he said.

Mufti's observations came after the media's recent criticism of the party for being a part of the state government and at the same time voicing the call for demilitarisation without any result in sight.

The state government had recently submitted a report to the central government saying that demilitarisation was not possible. Moreover, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad publicly snubbed the PDP on the issue.

Hinting at the Muslim clergy's anger over the army's programme of renovation of Muslim shrines in the Kashmir valley, Sayeed said: "The over-exposure of the troops in Jammu and Kashmir is now proving counter-productive and the country must take note of it. Even the well intentioned moves of the army are now creating an adverse public reaction."

Senior Muslim clerics in the state have asked the Army not to touch the shrines. They have said that Muslim shrines cannot be rebuilt or renovated by non-Muslims.

Sayeed said increasing criticism of the army by the public is an alarming measure of the growing alienation. "The country's leadership must take note of these distributing signals and initiate remedial measures with political input," he said.

"Reduction of troops is an inalienable ingredient of the peace process and postponing it would have adverse implications. Every single day counts and any further delay is going to put the peace process in the reverse gear," Sayeed added.