Peace package put on fast track | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Peace package put on fast track

As school students in Kashmir took the first few steps towards peace on Monday, the government decided to put implementation of the eight-point peace package for Jammu and Kashmir on the fast track, beginning this week.

delhi Updated: Sep 27, 2010 23:32 IST
Aloke Tikku

As school students in Kashmir took the first few steps towards peace on Monday, the government decided to put implementation of the eight-point peace package for Jammu and Kashmir on the fast track, beginning this week.

Government sources said the Centre will release the R100 crore earmarked for upgrading educational institutions by Tuesday and has told the Omar Abdullah government to immediately disburse the ex-gratia payment of R5 lakh for families of civilians killed during the protests

“It has also been decided to accord the rank of a Cabinet minister to the political leader who will lead the group of interlocutors… It will operate out of an office in Delhi,” the source said.

Keeping pace with Delhi, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has also convened the crucial meeting of the Unified Command on Thursday.

This meeting will work out the implementation schedule for reducing the presence of central security forces, their bunkers and checkpoints as well as lifting the “disturbed areas” tag from some districts.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram — widely seen as the prime mover behind last week’s eight-point peace initiative — welcomed the return of students to their schools and denounced isolated instances of stone-pelters attacking school buses at three places in the valley. “How can any right thinking person pelt stones on school buses? I hope that such mischief will stop immediately,” he said.

Young Kashmiris were a key focus of the package that required the state government to release youth arrested during the crackdown on street protests and ensure students do not waste a year.

Sources in the security establishment said the initiative to push back troops from the visible radar of Kashmiris was a calculated risk but it could be reversed if the law and order situation went out of hand.

The government’s sense is that this is a risk that needs to be taken. If the man on the street finds the paramilitary personnel an eyesore, they can be pushed back, a government source said, pointing that it was possible that terrorists could exploit this absence.