Govt to use Army as ‘deterrent’ in J&K
Hardens stand on violence in the Valley
Asks state to deal sternly with stone hurlers
New Delhi, July 7
Taking a tough stance against stone hurlers and those indulging in violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre today made it clear that it would use the Army as a “deterrent” to bring the situation under control in the state.
Separately, it asked the state government to launch a “crackdown” against mischievous elements and continue with the curfew till the violence was quelled.
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which discussed the situation in Kashmir today, decided to use the Army as a “deterrent”. The meeting decided that the Army would be used in “peripheral” areas and not in congested ones. At present, the Army is deployed largely in rural areas and along the Line of Control (LoC).
The decision is significant in terms of the ongoing turmoil that is seen as being backed by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The Army will not be used for crowd control, but could be used to tackle any situation that could spiral out as a major law and order issue. The deployment of the Army in a particular urban area will be left to the Army Commanders on the field. Meaning thereby, the Army will assist the civil administration and not be forced into tackling local law and order issues.
Sources said it was not that the Army units were being moved closer to urban fringes, the force had its own existing campuses and a team could be asked to move at a short-notice, whenever needed.
Army teams could be used along the fringes of Srinagar, Sopore, Batmaloo and Maisuma, besides areas like Anantnag, a senior functionary said.
The Army, meanwhile, clarified that there was no “flag-march” in the valley, the convoys of trucks, jeeps and men had returned to their units and were used just to instill a sense of confidence among the people.
The Centre today rushed Union Home Secretary GK Pillai and the Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieut-Gen Anand Mohan Verma to carry out an assessment of the situation in the valley.
In the afternoon, Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan backed the Centre’s move saying “….elements from across the border are trying to create tension there (J&K)…..We will resist our enemies with all the force at our command …We are very confident that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will not fall prey to the designs of such elements……we are confident that we will very soon be able to restore law and order.” She refused to be drawn into a discussion about reported Army deployment in the valley saying, “It is for the CCS to decide”.