Shujaat Bukhari

"Chief Minister's statistics not reliable"

SRINAGAR: The coalition partners in J & K are contradicting each other on whether the security situation in the State has improved or not. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad last week said that compared with previous years it has shown considerable improvement. The first one to contradict the Chief Minister was PDP president Mehbooba Mufti who argued that the statistics given by Mr. Azad were provided to him by security agencies and they would not help to understand the ground situation. The PDP is the partner in the coalition government headed by the Congress.

Without mentioning that the government had not done much to put a brake on human rights violations, Ms. Mufti said that these violations did take place during the tenure of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, as Chief Minister but asserted that her party had made troops accountable, and even the corps commander went to several areas to tender apology to the people. "Our regime had provided a sense of security to people," she said.

Mr. Azad during a discussion in the Legislative Assembly maintained that compared with the period under President's rule and National Conference, the situation had witnessed a discernable change. According to him the six years of Governor's rule recorded a total of 34,890 incidents of violence and the number slides to 21,115 during the NC rule while as the coalition regime's four year period has seen 8,957 such incidents. He drew a comparison of 1,001 incidents during his eight-month tenure with the 1,200 incidents that happened in the corresponding period of November-July 2005. The Chief Minister said there was a 17 per cent decline in incidents and 18 per cent decrease in civilian killings. Mr. Azad claimed that during his 8-month rule only two custodial killings were reported.