Encounters do not signify return of militancy in J&K: Omar

Last Updated 09 January 2010, 08:30 IST
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"Both the operations were initiated by the security forces and not terrorists. There were credible intelligence information," he told reporters here, contending that the incidents got so much attention only because it took place in Srinagar. These were part of surgical strikes, he said.

Abdullah said though he could not claim that militancy had died down in Kashmir, violence was prevalent in the state as much as in any other part of the country, including the Maoist-affected states.

"This should not be a reason for investors to shy away from the state," he said earlier in an emotional appeal to delegates at the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas here. "Kashmir is more than just a beautiful or a dangerous place."

"If violence doesn't stop you from investing in Maoist- hit states, then why not (invest in) Kashmir," he questioned, adding that Jammu and Kashmir was suffering because people had a perception about it being a terrorist-affected state.

In the Lal Chowk encounter, security personnel stormed a hotel where terrorists had taken shelter on being challenged and gunned down two militants on Thursday, while on Friday two terrorists were killed in an encounter in Pulwama district in south Kashmir.

The Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said that his priority was to address the problem of massive unemployment in his state which was growing day-by-day due to a marked difference in the number of "unemployed and the unemployable".

There were very few skills which make them attractive for the job market, he said, adding that because Jammu and Kashmir doesn't have adequate manpower, any new industry which is set up seeks skilled people from the outside.

Lamenting that his state could not compete with states like Gujarat and Maharashtra, Abdullah said, "I am sure given opportunities, we can compete with many other states which have already had a headstart on us".

"We want to rebuild our association with the world and want to show that Jammu and Kashmir is not a dangerous place," he said.

Abdullah requested the diaspora to come and visit the state and decide for themselves the security scenario there.

"I don't have enormous expectations. I just want people to come and give us fair opportunity," he added. 

(Published 09 January 2010, 08:30 IST)

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