Troop reduction planned in Kashmir
The Centre, in consultation with Jammu and Kashmir, may withdraw nearly 10,000 paramilitary personnel from the state in a phased manner this year. At present, the troubled state has over 70,000 central paramilitary personnel. “There is scope of reduction of troops. There are more than adequate forces in Kashmir and it can do with less central forces,” home secretary Gopal K Pillai said. Asked how many men were being pulled out from the state, he told a news agency that in 2009, the Centre pulled out 10 battalions (10,000 men) from the state. Last year, it did not take out any because of the agitation from June to September. “I think this year, we can easily take out 10 battalions if not more. Irrespective of the situation, I can take out 10 battalions and it would not have any impact. We have about 70 battalions in Kashmir and we have 62 battalions in seven Left-wing affected states which are big states... I think if I can take out, I will try to pull out as many as I can,” he said. On amendments to AFSPA, whose withdrawal has been demanded by the state, the home secretary said this had to be decided politically. Pillai said if there was no change being made in AFSPA, then the area could be denotified (as disturbed) and the law will not be applicable there. He, however, said the proposals for amendments in AFSPA were before the Cabinet Committee on Security.