India has reduced over 35,000 troops in Kashmir

Jammu: Without much fanfare, India has withdrawn over 35,000 troops from Jammu and Kashmir. More troops are expected to be withdrawn soon.

Over 35,000 troops have been reduced in Jammu and Kashmir in the past 15 months, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told the state legislative assembly. He promised a further decline in the number of troops.

“Without creating any hype we have reduced 35,000 troops and also decreased the number of central paramilitary forces from internal duty,” Abdullah said Wednesday evening.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic party (PDP) and separatists in the state have been consistently campaigning for troop reduction as they believe that the presence of the army in Kashmir was intruding into the day-to-day lives of the people and was also responsible for human rights abuses.

Abdullah’s National Conference is also of the view that an improvement in the security situation necessitates reduction of troops in the Valley.

However, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is opposed to the move. BJP legislature party leader Chaman Lal Gupta told the assembly that the reduction of troops would only encourage the militants. “It will encourage militants to regroup and worsen the situation,” he said.

“With the gradual restoration of peace and tranquillity, the footprints of the security forces in the state would lessen,” he said.

The chief minister claimed that “the track record of his government’s last one year is testimony to his commitment to zero tolerance to human rights abuses”.

He cited the instance of Border Security Force (BSF) commander R.K. Birdi and constable Lakhvinder Kumar being arrested for their alleged involvement in the killing of a teenager in Srinagar last month.


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