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Omar talks of peace 'offer'

Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is hopeful of finding a solution to the ongoing unrest in his state soon.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2010 00:37 IST
Toufiq Rashid

Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is hopeful of finding a solution to the ongoing unrest in his state soon.

In an exclusive interview with HT, Abdullah, who will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next weekend, said: "I will soon be able to offer a package (of measures) to pacify the protesters. The government of India is very serious this time. Home Minister (P Chidambaram) is very serious and I am also working very hard.

"I have had extensive discussions with the home minister and (with UPA Chairperson) Soniaji (Gandhi) and am hopeful we will be moving forward on solutions in my meeting with the Prime Minister," he added.

The chief minister, however, refrained from setting a time frame. "It's too risky to set time limits but things will move very soon," he said, adding: "Maintaining the status quo is the only option that is not available at this time."

Kashmir has been witnessing sustained street protests and widespread since June 11 and 64 youth have been filled in police firing since then.

Revoking, or at least diluting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in all or parts of Kashmir is a key demand of the protestors. Abdullah said the authorities had made some progress on this, but refused to reveal anything further.

Though both moderate and hard line separatist factions led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, respectively, have set pre-conditions for talks, both the Centre and the state feel "this is the best opportunity for finding a lasting solution to the problem".