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Updated: February 19, 2010 19:49 IST

Reduced violence in J&K a silver lining: Chidambaram

PTI
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Union Home Minister P Chidambaram after a meeting with members of Women's Press Club in New Delhi on Friday
PTI Union Home Minister P Chidambaram after a meeting with members of Women's Press Club in New Delhi on Friday

Kashmir has witnessed a reduction in number of incidents of violence last year which was a “silver lining”, but infiltration attempts have gone up, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said.

“Infiltration has not reduced. Incidents of violence have reduced, and I attribute it to the army, paramilitary and the Jammu and Kashmir police,” he said.

The policy that Jammu and Kashmir police should take the lead has been successful, the minister told women journalists during an interaction here.

On the reasons behind the increased infiltration, he said, “militant groups are coming together to give a push.”

They are rattled by various factors like quiet talks being held, the Prime Minister’s reconstruction programme and a stable government in the state, he said.

The minister also pointed out that there was no rise in terrorism in the state.

Asked about a recent interview by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during which he had talked about a Pakistani hand in the stone-pelting incidents, he refused to comment saying it was for the state Chief Minister to speak on intelligence inputs received by him.

“But I can confirm that there is a lot of activity or traffic from across the LoC which is indeed monitored.”

On the status of key security projects - NATGRID and National Counter Terrorism Centre - the minister said these were under process and “both will be in place by December 31, 2010”.

On the return of PoK youths who have shunned violence and want to be part of the re-integration process, Mr. Chidambaram said the government has done it in other states like those in the North-East.

“Jammu and Kashmir is no different, but they have to follow a proper process which will include identification, frisking and de-briefing before their reintegration,” he said.

Mr. Chidambaram termed the 14 months of a terror-free run in the country as a “share of luck”, and said “terror never went away, it was always there”.

The country had its share of intelligence routing which helped thwart a number of terror attacks, but it is not always that one can do it, he said.

However, in the case of Pune, “we did not have any luck and did not have any clue that this would happen,” he said and termed the blast as a “blot”.

There were inputs that Koregaon Park was on the terror list, but it was not possible to protect all soft targets, he said adding “someone slipped through the cracks” to attack the soft target.

Emphasising the need for public vigilance in protecting soft targets, the minister said the government has started a media campaign to create awareness among the people.

He also said that every country was vulnerable in this aspect. “No country is less vulnerable”.

Mr. Chidambaram asserted that “things will be difficult, but we will overcome them as long as we stick to basic policing” which he said has been neglected for the last 20 years.

“It is an accumulative neglect of 20 years which cannot be covered in two years,” he said.

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