Taking every possible measure to ensure calm summer: PC
‘Geelani’s Figures On Political Prisoners Highly Exaggerated’
Pahalgam, June 21: Expressing satisfaction over the prevailing security situation in Kashmir, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram Tuesday said the Government is taking every possible measure to ensure peaceful summer this year.
“Things have been going quite smoothly and normalcy has returned while the tourism which suffered a lot during last summer unrest has also picked up. We are taking all possible measures to ensure a peaceful summer this year and smooth Amarnath Yatra,” Chidambaram told Greater Kashmir on the margins of security review meeting at this south Kashmir tourist resort.
He said the Panchayat elections in the state have concluded smoothly with huge number of people turning out to vote and elect their representatives at grassroots level. “Previously, people had access only to MLAs, but now more channels of communication have opened and it is the Panchs and Sarpanchs who would take responsibility of addressing their grievances. So, there is no point for the people to resort to agitation”, he said.
Terming as “highly exaggerated” the figures of 1465 political prisoners quoted by chairman Hurriyat (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Home Minister said only123 youth charged in stone-pelting are presently serving detention while 45 others have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).
“I don’t know wherefrom Geelani has got all these figures. The numbers quoted by him are highly exaggerated. He (Geelani) should file an application under RTI Act and seek information about the actual number of political prisoners languishing in different jails. I reiterate that only 123 plus 45 (168) persons are currently serving imprisonment under different provisions of the law,” Chidambaram said.
He said the central government has already recommended to the state government that the charges against the political prisoners should be reviewed and minor cases withdrawn.
Pertinently, Geelani had, in a statement other day, said that 1465 political prisoners, including 300 youth charged with stone-pelting, are presently serving imprisonment in various jails in and outside the state. He had also stated that 5000 FIRs have been registered against youth held on charges of stone-pelting.
About the revoking of AFSPA, from certain areas of the state where the security scenario has improved, Chidambaram said; “Chief Minister has already appointed two committees and they will make recommendations in this regard”.
Regarding the withdrawal of army from civilian areas, Chidambaram said, “We feel the situation has improved drastically in the Valley and the graph of militancy has come down sharply. That is why you won’t find army in civilian areas like the Srinagar city. It is confined to barracks and borders only.”
However, Chidambaram said that on certain occasions like Amarnath Yatra, the government has to deploy additional battalions of paramilitary forces and these are entirely operational decisions.
On the rehabilitation policy announced by the government for the youth who want return from across the LoC and live peacefully, the Home Minister said that the process has been going on smoothly and some 68 cases have already been approved.
On the growing unemployment in the state Chidambaram said growing economic activities and good governance can alleviate this problem to a large extent.
“If there is a peaceful environment there will be a surge in tourism which would give flip to the economic activities and generate more jobs in the state,” he said.
He said though the government is trying to accommodate as many people as they can in the government jobs but that only cannot suffice the needs of everyone and it was necessary that the youth themselves come forward, invest in private enterprises and create job opportunities for themselves.
“3062 youth from the state will be recruited in paramilitary forces. While as 4811 youth recruited in Jammu and Kashmir police are currently under training and 2694 more youth are to be recruited this year,” Chidambaram said.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 22 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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