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Demilitarisation of J&K not possible: Deputy CM

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January 10, 2006 14:49 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig has said demilitarisation is not possible until terrorist activities cease across the state and that Kashmiris do enjoy self-governance under the Indian Constitution.

"How can any responsible government withdraw forces while the threat of terrorism looms large? As long as people are being killed, how can the troops be withdrawn," Beig asked, on Monday night.

Demilitarisation will take place only when both India and Pakistan reach a stage of  'friendship and no bullets are required to be fired', said Beig, when asked about Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's proposal of troop withdrawal fron the troubled state.

The deputy chief minister said Pakistan cannot put pre-conditions like demilitarisation for stopping terrorism and restoring peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Troop presence in Jammu and Kashmir is a necessity to face the terrorists. The security forces are not there out of choice. It is costing the nation a lot of money also," he added.

About General Musharraf's proposal of self-governance, Beig said under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir already enjoyed a special status.

"We are already enjoying self-governance, we have our own Constitution. But if the Pakistani side has some proposal, it must present it to the Centre and then we must have an exchange of views from both sides," he added.

He said Pakistan must provide details and modalities of self-governance in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Is it a European Union-based model or the United States set-up? We must know what is being proposed," he added. Any proposal about Jammu and Kashmir has to be discussed and a collective opinion formed, Beig said.

"Taking a tough and non-flexible stand during talks is the norm but such things do not work when soulutions have to be found," he added.

About rehabilitation work in quake-hit areas, Beig said survivors had been provided all possible help to face the harsh winters. "We will do more if it is required but, so far, things are satisfactory," he added.

Beig inaugurated the Kashmir Food Festival organised by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism and Development Corporation on Monday night.