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Troops in J&K to be increased: Mukherjee

Source: PTI
May 09, 2006 20:06 IST
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Troop presence in Jammu and Kashmir will be "numerically enhanced" to deal with the increased terrorist violence in remote areas and sophisticated weapons provided to village defence committees to make them capable of staving off militant attacks, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Jammu on Tuesday.

"The situation in the state is under constant review and if attacks by terrorists on soft targets continue, we will numerically enhance troop presence," Mukherjee said after wittnessing emotional scenes at Tawa village in Doda and Basantgarh in Udhampur district where terrorists gunned down 32 Hindus last week.

"Terorists have now stepped up senseless killings and we have to induct more troops to make the people secure," he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who accompanied Mukherjee on the tour, called on more people to join the village defence committees.

Asked about the government's recent announcement on reduction of troops from Kashmir and the reasons prompting the re-induction of forces, Mukherjee told reporters, "When we reduced the troops we did it voluntarily and even then we had made it clear that if the situation warranted we could change our stand."

The defence minister saw a sinister design behind the terrorist strikes against remote villages and defenceless people, saying they were aimed at sabotaging the upcoming round table conference in Srinagar on May 25.

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