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Omar defends calling in Army; curfew reimposed
Srinagar, JUL 10 (AGENCIES):
Published on 11 Jul. 2010 12:09 AM IST
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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took full responsibility for calling in the Army in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN on Saturday. Omar says Kashmir is by and large under control, but the Army will be kept standby for some more days.
In his first interview after the violent protests began, the chief minister said the Army’s presence in the Valley was very much required to enforce curfew. “I wanted to enforce curfew strictly and the Army was used only as a deterrent,” said Omar.
“Army was called in with a specific purpose and it was never used in anti-militancy operations,” Omar said further, adding the Army will be present in the Valley till at least 13th of July although the situation is, by and large, peaceful in Kashmir now.
The proposed all-party meeting on Monday will go on irrespective of the boycott by the PDP, Omar made clear. While admitting that his chips are down, Omar said he’s not out yet.
Mehbooba Mufti, leader of the main Opposition party PDP, says her party will boycott the all-party meet called by the chief minister and she will only come for talks if the Prime Minister invites them.
Meanwhile, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah met the Prime Minister and Home Minister in New Delhi in a bid to end the crisis. Curfew was reimposed in Maisuma, Anantnag and Pulwama towns after stone-pelting mobs clashed with security forces.
Abdullah discussed measures to resolve the crisis that rocked the Valley following protests against killing of civilians in firing by security forces in last fortnight.
While a Congress delegation is likely to leave for Kashmir to take stock of the situation, the party is in a damage control mode, distancing itself from Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s decision to bring in the Army. Curfew was lifted in Srinagar on Friday night after four days to allow people to offer prayers on the occasion of Meraaj-e-Alam at the Hazratbal shrine. But across the Valley, curfew has now been reimposed in Anantnag, Baramullah, Sopore and Maisuma.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the chief minister, in consultation with senior police officials and Cabinet ministers. Restrictions on the movement of the media have also been lifted.
The authorities imposed a curfew on the region on Tuesday and ordered the Army to take control of Srinagar the next day -- for the first time in almost two decades -- to quell huge protests.

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