PM appeals for peace in Kashmir at all-party meet | delhi | Hindustan Times
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PM appeals for peace in Kashmir at all-party meet

The all-party meeting on Kashmir may consider a proposal to send an all-party parliamentary delegation to the troubled state, Congress insiders said. A consensus on the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is, however, unlikely, officials added. See cartoon

delhi Updated: Sep 15, 2010 15:31 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday appealed for peace in Jammu and Kashmir, saying only dialogue could lead to a lasting solution of the lingering issue.

Appealing to people in the state to shun violence, the prime minister said in his opening remarks at an all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir here: "The only way to lasting peace is dialogue."

Manmohan Singh reiterated that his government was ready to talk to anyone in Jammu and Kashmir who shunned violence. See cartoon

He said that some of the protests rocking the Kashmir Valley since June 11 had been "orchestrated" and added that he was shocked to see children take to the streets.

The prime minister made no specific reference to the large number of civilians killed in firing by security forces in the valley during mass protests, many of which have turned violent.

He said he was meeting leaders of political parties, including Jammu and Kashmir's ruling National Conference and the People's Democratic Party, to get "guidance" on how to solve the "complex, vexed" Kashmir issue.

Also attending the meeting were Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Left leaders, including Prakash Karat, as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) L.K. Advani and Nitin Gadkari.

The prime minister also did not refer to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which many Kashmiris want withdrawn as it gives the security forces sweeping powers.

The unending protests and killing of civilians have overshadowed a lingering separatist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir that has left thousands dead since 1989.