Special Correspondent

JAMMU: In a development that may deepen the fissures between the coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir the Congress and People's Democratic Party the former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, asked Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to withdraw the security cover for him and his MP daughter Mehbooba Mufti.

Nineteen MLAs, 7 MLCs and an MP have also endorsed the stand taken by Mufti and asked the Government to withdraw their security. They include PDP Ministers in the coalition Government. This was decided at an emergency meeting here.

In a strong reaction to Mr. Azad's statement in the Assembly on Monday that those who demand reduction in troops and withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and greater involvement of local police should surrender their security cover first, Mr. Sayeed shot off a two-page letter to him.

"We believe that surrendering personal security by us would earn your endorsement to our suggestion, as has been stated by you in the State Assembly and you would take steps in this direction so that the people of the State get the relief that we envisage through these measures," said the letter.

"Accordingly, I am writing this letter to request you to please withdraw my personal security and that of Ms. Mehbooba Mufti, MP, with immediate effect."

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told The Hindu , that there could be no better response to Mr. Azad's statement.