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Truce balloon in Valley air

The Centre and the J&K government is willing to consider a cease-fire with militants to involve them in talks, writes Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Sep 13, 2006 02:45 IST
Arun Joshi

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government are willing to consider a cease-fire with the militants to involve them in talks on the Kashmir issue.

“We want real peace, not a make-believe one, “Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told HT on Tuesday. “We are willing to consider cease-fire if the militants agree,” he added. Over the past 17 years, terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir has claimed more than 40,000 lives and displaced half-a-million people in the state.

“Our doors are open for dialogue if the militants commit themselves to a single leadership and dialogue without guns,” Azad said.

The political leadership, both at the Centre and in the state, feels there is a great need to ensure a congenial atmosphere for the five working groups, announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May after the second round table in Srinagar, to find workable proposals for peace.

A ceasefire announcement is also expected to be received positively by the Hizb–ul-Mujahadeen. Its chief Syed Salahaudin has said they could join the dialogue if the government reduced troops. Further, there is pressure from all parties, including separatists, to end the violence.

But not all agree on the ceasefire. The Army and intelligence agencies point out the sharp increase in infiltration in recent months to argue against it.