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Indian army commander in Kashmir says ready to help trace missing

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, India, Jan 20, IRNA -- Indian army is ready to help in tracing missing Kashmiris, said Atta Hasnain.

In a significant statement, the recently appointed commander of the Indian army in Kashmir, Lt Gen Atta Hasnain has offered the army’s cooperation to the police and the civil administration in tracing Kashmiris subjected to disappearances over the past two decades of turmoil.

The remarks by commander of the 15th Corps are a marked departure from the army’s studied silence over the issue of disappearances and assertions by its highest echelons that a troop reduction in Kashmir was out of the question.

The general was speaking at a function organised by the army in Shopian.

Talking to the media, Gen Hasnain, first Muslim to lead Indian army in Kashmir, said that he agreed on the need of all “possible steps” to trace the fate and whereabouts of Kashmiris who have gone missing over the past 20 years.

The general announced that the army was prepared to extend all cooperation to the police and the civil administration in this context, and asked people to register complaints in police stations to put the record straight.

“I will personally talk to the director general and the inspectors general of the police,” the military commander said.

Stressing that the issue would not be resolved overnight but might take years, the general said that it needed joint effort by all concerned to bear fruit.

To a question on troop reduction, Gen Hasnain said that the state’s unified command would hold a meeting shortly with central authorities to take the final decision on the matter.

“The army has nothing to do with politics, but is concerned with maintaining peace and defending the integrity of the nation,” he said.

The general said that the army was at the forefront in coming to the assistance of the people in remote areas, and would continue its efforts to provide basic facilities.

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