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Peace is the only way ahead

Govt vowed time-bound review of cases in J&K against those held under POTA.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2005 10:41 IST

The Hurriyat’s first-ever interaction with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has yielded substantial results, with the government promising a time-bound review of cases against those held under the Public Safety Act and the now-abrogated Pota. In the same go, the Centre reaffirmed its commitment to protect human rights in J&K.

A five-member delegation of the All Party Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq met the PM at his residence for almost three hours on Monday.

In a statement after the talks, the PM’s media adviser Sanjaya Baru quoted Singh as having emphasised to the Hurriyat leaders the need for cessation of violence and an end to infiltration to create conditions for reducing the presence of armed forces in the Valley — a major demand of Kashmiri separatists.

While agreeing to review all cases of those in detention, the PM underscored his commitment to ensuring a life of peace, self-respect and dignity for the people of J&K. “Violations of human dignity will not be tolerated and the government will take all necessary measures to safeguard against human-rights violations,” the press note quoted Singh as saying.

Underlining the Centre’s stand on keeping the dialogue all-inclusive, the press note stated that both sides agreed to push forward the talks inaugurated on Monday by bringing on board “all regions and shades of political opinion” in the border state.

For its part, the Hurriyat delegation — including Abdul Ghani Bhatt, Abbas Ansari, Bilal Lone and Fazl Haq Qureshi — agreed that the only way forward was to ensure that “all forms of violence at all levels” should come to an end.

The Hurriyat leaders also welcomed the Indo-Pak peace process, including the PM’s initiatives like the resumption of bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.

They promised to revert with specific suggestions for an “honourable and durable” resolution of the Kashmir question at the next meeting, the dates for which will be finalised in due course.

Responding to questions, Baru said the central team that would pursue dialogue with various Kashmiri groups would be given shape soon.

In the talks, the prime minister was assisted by Home Minister Shivraj Patil, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and SK Lambah, his point man for back-channel talks with Pakistan.

The Centre’s Kashmir interlocutor NN Vohra, Home Secretary VK Duggal and Singh’s principal secretary TKA Nair were also present.

First Published: Sep 05, 2005 20:01 IST