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Army standby till next week: Omar

New Delhi, July 10 (Calcutta Tube) Pointing out that the army has not been deployed in violence-hit Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Saturday he hoped to pull out the armed forces from ‘standby duties’ next week.

‘There has been no major incident since Friday’ when the curfew was lifted to allow people to offer prayers at night on the occasion of Shab-e-Mehraj, Omar said in an interview to NDTV news channel in Srinagar.

‘It was a difficult decision for me,’ Omar said about the government’s resolve to deploy the army for flag marches in Srinagar three days ago to quell escalating violence.

He said that he consulted his ministerial colleagues and party leaders. ‘First, I had to convince myself.’

He said since Friday the army was doing ‘standby duties only’ in the valley. ‘It has not been deployed on the streets.’

Asked when he expected to call back the army, Omar said: ‘When we have that level of confidence, we will send back the army. It may be some time next week’.

The chief minister said he would meet the families of the teenagers and other civilians killed in firing by security forces in Kashmir. ‘But away from the media.’

Curfew was clamped in the Kashmir Valley following widespread violence after the death of a dozen people in firing by security forces. The army was called in to stage flag marches, for the first time in more than a decade.

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