'Deployment of soldiers not linked to 35A'

A senior government functionary on Tuesday rejected suggestions of immediate scrapping of Article 35A, which provides special rights to Jammu and Kashmir, and termed as “routine” the deployment of soldiers, saying it was done to relieve troops posted there.

The remarks by the functionary came amidst heightened concerns in Kashmir that the Centre may take a step, like repealing Article 35A, and that the deployment of additional troops may have meant to tackle any consequent law and order problem.

However, the source said security forces in the state, especially in the Valley, were under a prolonged spell of strenuous duty due to panchayat poll followed by Lok Sabha election and now Amarnath Yatra.

It is necessary to relieve them from “hard duty” and bring in fresh deployment, he said, adding that the Assembly elections in the state are also expected to be held soon. Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives powers to the state to define the state’s permanent residents, termed discriminatory by its critics.