Indian Army to Remove 8 Posts in Kashmir

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Srinagar, April 20: Indian Army is planning to launch Kashmir-specific major Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) by removing eight of its posts from the Indian administered Kashmir.

“In view of the improvement in ground situation and considerable fall in the militancy related violence, we have identified eight posts – four each in North and South Kashmir – for removal,” top army commander in Srinagar, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain told a local newspaper in Srinagar.

He said the army has identified and recommended removal of the posts. “The deliberations in this regard are going on and once it is over, the process of lifting of posts will start,” he said.

He, however, did not identify the places from where the posts will be removed.

Asked whether troops stationed at these posts will be relocated, the army commander said it is not yet under consideration.

When asked whether army has any plans to vacate occupied health, educational and panchayat institutions in the Valley, he said, “We are ready to vacate these places if government provides us alternate accommodation”.

“We will have the case study of each post and on basis of genuine complaints, posts from these places would be removed,” he said.

Hasnain said the army vacated Primary Health Centre, Ningli Sopore in North Kashmir after locals complained that its continuous occupation is affecting the healthcare in the area. “The army vacated the health centre some weeks back after the concerned DC provided us alternate accommodation. The army men stationed in PHC, Ningli were shifted to some other place”.

The army commander said posts will not be removed from the areas, where militancy influence is intact. “Although there has been perceptible improvement in the situation but many areas in North Kashmir are still under our strict surveillance due to militant presence”.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.