'Activists' murder not related to security withdrawal'

'Activists' murder not related to security withdrawal'

Satya Pal Malik

Under criticism from political parties for withdrawing security to politicians, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday said it was wrong to link the issue with the killing of political activists by militants in the Valley.

He said that certain quarters are spreading rumours that the killings take place due to the security withdrawal. “We saw smooth conduct of sarpanch elections in the state. So, they (militants) now started targeted killings in the Valley,” the Governor said on the sidelines of bi-annual Darbar Move opening in Srinagar.

While terming the killings unfortunate, he said that the people who were killed were never “categorised”.

“We will sit within few days and discuss the withdrawal of security. Also, Chief Secretary will see if security withdrawal played any part in these killings or not,” Malik said.

On Sunday the governor ordered an inquiry into the killings of political activists belonging to various parties in the state in the last few months. He asked state chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam for identifying any lapses on the part of security agencies regarding ensuring the security of political people.

The State Security Review Coordination Committee (SRCC) last month de-categorized 409 protected persons from the security cover. Following SRCC recommendations security cover including personal security officers (PSOs), escorts and attachment guards were withdrawn from 96 leaders of Congress party followed by 77 of National Conference (NC),66 leaders of BJP and 26 leaders of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The SRCC’s recommendations came in the wake of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asking the state government to recover over 2000 police personnel and 250 vehicles, which were given in excess to the entitlement of various protected persons across Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources said since governor Malik’ took over last August, nearly 900 odd people in the state have been de-categorized including 22 separatist leaders.

Malik said that voting remains the only option with the people of the state. “Ban or guns are not options. The vote is the only solution with the people of the state. All the parties here should try to reach out to the people,” he said.

When asked about the assembly election in the state, Governor said that it is for the election commission to decide when to hold the elections in the state.