``No demilitarisation of the State ''

  • Army has no individual interest in staying in the State: Panag
  • Rules out Al Qaeda's relations with LeT, JeM

    Udhampur: The Army has ruled out the presence of Al Qaeda in Jammu and Kashmir, saying nothing had been established so far to corroborate reports of the terror group's operations in the State.

    "Much has been said by the print and electronic media about Al Qaeda's presence in Jammu and Kashmir. But nothing has been established so far to corroborate these reports," Lt. Gen. H.S. Panag, GOC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after laying wreaths at the Dhruv War Memorial on the occasion of the unit's 36th Raising Day.

    ``No records''

    Lt. Gen. Panag, who is in charge of the operational command in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir regions, said, "We also have no records in the past about Al Qaeda operatives found during counter-insurgency operations in the State.

    He also ruled out Al Qaeda's relations with Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

    "We are only aware of Al Qaeda's strong relations with JeM and LeT in Pakistan," he maintained. "In Pakistan, Al Qaeda trains and assists LeT, JeM cadres in operations against the government.

    Ruling out demilitarisation of Jammu and Kashmir at this juncture, Lt. Gen. Panag said that it was not up to the Army to take a decision on withdrawal or re-deployment of troops in the State. Contradicting media reports, he said the Army does not have any individual interest in staying in the State. "Instead jawans will be happy to go back and stay with their families."

    Counter insurgency

    Of the total 3. 37 lakh troops in the State, only 25 per cent are being used for counter insurgency operations.

    "To deal with counter insurgency and counter infiltration operations along the Line of Control, 45 to 50 per cent troops are being deployed," he said.

    12 arrested

    In Raisen, Madhya Pradesh, 12 people were arrested for asking people to support Osama bin Laden, police said.

    On a complaint that around dozen persons were preaching a "different version of Islam" at a house in Chopra Mohalla, the 12 were arrested on Saturday night.

    Raids were then conducted in Bhopal but no clues were found to link them with any terrorist outfit, Superintendent of Police K.C. Jain said, adding that teams have been dispatched to Gwalior, Agra, Delhi, Bina and some places in Maharashtra to verify some addresses in other cities.

    Local residents' claim

    Local residents claimed that the 12 persons, while "preaching a different version of Islam," were asking youth to follow the path of bin Laden and wage war against the United States.

    A delegation of Muslims also submitted a memorandum to District Collector Sandeep Yadav, seeking strict action against the accused, as "they were spreading rumours about Islam".

    The accused were remanded to police custody till June 20.