Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
The entire state of Jammu & Kashmir barring the two districts of Ladakh region will be declared a disturbed area under the Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah made this announcement while briefing reporters in Jammu after visiting the railway station, where militants opened fire on Tuesday night, and various hospitals in the city where the 32 persons injured in the shootout are undergoing treatment.
"Barring Leh and Kargil the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir will be brought under the Disturbed Areas Act and the armed forces will be given special powers to deal with the militancy in the two regions of Jammu and Kashmir," Dr Abdullah said.
He said he would place the proposal before the state Cabinet at its meeting in the summer capital, Srinagar, "immediately after my return from Delhi".
"This will be one of the steps of the proposed pro-active policy to defeat the designs of Pakistan that has intensified massacres after the Agra summit. These designs will not succeed," Dr Abdullah asserted.
The chief minister is leaving for New Delhi to attend a high-level meeting convened by Union Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani to review the situation in the state after the recent killings at Doda and Jammu. Defence Minister Jaswant Singh will also attend the meeting.
It will not be the first time that Jammu & Kashmir is brought under the purview of the tough anti-insurgency laws. In 1990, the state government had declared the entire Kashmir valley and the Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu 'disturbed areas' following a spurt in separatist violence.
But after the assembly election of 1996, the Jammu & Kashmir government allowed the notification to lapse in 1999.
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