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Former Defence Minister Sharad Pawar said today that the services of the armed forces were used in healthcare and other sectors to win the trust of people when militancy was at its peak in Punjab in the early 1990s. Speaking at a programme where Jammu and Kashmir N N Vohra was honoured with 'Sant Namdeo National Award', Pawar said the rural areas of then militancy-hit Punjab faced a shortage of healthcare professionals and skilled mechanic to repair trucks and tractors. The Defence Ministry had to deploy a number of mechanic from the armed forces to repair tractors and help farmers and medicos from the Armed Forces Corps, the NCP leader said. Pawar, who the defence minister between 1991 and 1993, said Vohra was the defence secretary then and he played a critical role in ensuring the task was completed successfully. He added that soliders in plain clothes were also deployed in villages of Punjab during that time. "This helped win people's trust," Pawar said.
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