The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Soft’ Mufti talks tough

Jammu, Nov. 7: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, perceived to be soft on militants, today told police there should be “no let-up in the fight against militancy”.

“You take up the front role and also widen your operations to reduce the role of the army in the anti-militancy operations in the state,” he said in his first address to police officers since taking over last week. “No mercy should be shown towards them.” The anti-militancy operations, the chief minister added, should be target-specific and ensure that “no innocent” is killed or wounded.

“Zero tolerance should be shown towards militants coming from across (the border),” Mufti said. “Our basic objective is to restore peace and that can happen only when the anti-militancy operations are matched with measures to rebuild confidence among the masses.”

Mufti’s assertions came on a day his predecessor Farooq Abdullah announced he would contest Rajya Sabha elections from the state.

Mufti also voiced concern over the meagre salary of Rs 1,500 of the special police officers, most of whom are drawn from the ranks of surrendered militants or ex-servicemen. The salaries should be enhanced to a respectable level so that they are not forced to resort to “extortion”, he added.

Earlier, the chief minister held detailed discussions with general-officer-commanding, Northern Command, Lieutenant General R. Nanavaty and other officers. The talks centred around the impact of militancy in the state and how operations should be planned and executed.

Mufti has already indicated he would continue with the system of a Unified Headquarters, the apex body that plans and executes anti-terrorist operations in the state.

Hizb expulsions

The pro-Pakistan Hizb-ul Mujahideen today expelled three former commanders for lobbying for Abdul Majid Dar, who was removed last year following differences with the leadership.

Tufail Altaf, ex-district commander of the outfit for Srinagar, Almas Khan and Nadeem Usmani have been expelled.

for anti-outfit activities, a statement released by the organisation said.

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