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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Antony to visit JK today







 GREATER KASHMIR

Jammu, Jan 11: Amid reports of ceasefire violations and fresh infiltration attempts along India-Pakistan border, Defence Minister AK Antony will be in Jammu and Kashmir on a one-day visit on Tuesday.
Accompanied by Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and senior defence ministry officials, the defence minister is schedule to review the security scenario in the state especially in view of the fresh infiltration attempts and recent militant attack in heart of Srinagar city.
Well informed sources told Greater Kashmir that the minister and the army chief will arrive in Jammu in the morning and will attend the Unified Command meet with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at the latter’s official residence at around 11 AM. “The minister and army chief will be guests in the meeting,” sources said adding, “The meeting will review the security scenario across the state.”
Sources said that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is also expected to hold a brief meeting with the Defence Minister before the Unified Command meeting.
The minister will later visit forward areas along India-Pakistan border in Rajouri-Poonch sector. Army has kept the schedule of this visit a close secret for security reasons and even the media was being kept out of the reach.
This is the second high profile visit of union ministers to the state in less then three months. Earlier Home Minister P Chitambaram had visited Jammu in November. In December 2009, Antony had announced that nearly 30,000 army soldiers have been withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir in the last one year and more troops will be withdrawn if the situation improves.
“Whenever we feel the situation has improved or is improving we will further reduce the visibility and presence of the army in the state... it is because of the presence of the army that we have been able to counter terrorism in the state,” Antony had added. Home Minister P. Chidambaram has been seeking transfer of law and order responsibilities to the state police with the incidence of violence, both against civilians and forces, being the lowest in 2009 since the insurgency began two decades ago.
The Indian Army has begun withdrawing troops from the Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir in a move seen as a confidence building measure to get Kashmiri separatists, especially the hardliners, on board for talks. The twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch were brought under the Disturbed Areas Act along with the Kashmir Valley in July 1990 and the forces were given sweeping powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act around the same time.
The two districts lie along a 200-km-stretch of the Line of Control with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

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