Prime Minister Manmohan Singh played a balancing role between praising the armed forces and protecting human rights on his two-day visit to Kashmir, starting Monday. His visit comes in the backdrop of festering anger in the Valley over alleged fake killings by the army.
<b1>Addressing a convocation at the Sher-i-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences, Singh defended army’s role saying cross border infiltration disrupts people’s lives and forces the security agencies to act. But he also said that no innocent civilians should suffer.
“Government policy is to protect human rights even when dealing with terrorism. The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir have been strictly instructed to respect the rights of the civilians. We will act to remove any deficiency in the implementation of these instructions,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s visit was greeted by a strike across the Valley called by the Hurriyat and other separatists, and some violent protests. Singh, however, renewed his offer for talks with separatists who shun violence.
He also appealed to Pakistan to create an environment of peace for “people on both sides”.