PM for setting up of five working groups on J&K
The working groups will bolster ties across the Line of Control (LoC).
Prime Minister Manomhan Singh on Thursday proposed setting up of five working groups to deal with effective devolution of powers, bolstering ties across the Line of Control (LoC) and steps to ameliorate the condition of people affected by terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
In his concluding remarks at the two-day roundtable conference, Singh announced that rehabilitation schemes would be extended to destitute families of terrorists killed in police action.
Highlighting the importance of evolving a consensus among different groups and sections of society on issues related to Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said, "I believe the time is now ripe to agree on the concrete mechanism for taking this process forward so that we can address issues which concern the people of this beautiful state."
The proposed working groups are on confidence-building measures across segments of society in the state, strengthening of relations across the LoC, economic development, ensuring good governance and further cementing relations between the state and the centre.
He said the groups should comprise members from those present or those nominated by parties and groups who could look more closely at the broad issues and problems.
The issue of effective devolution of power among different regions to meet regional, sub-regional and ethnic aspirations would be taken up by the working group on propping up Centre-state relation, the Prime Minister said.
It will deliberate on matters relating to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian union and methods of strengthening democracy, secularism and the rule of law in the state.
He suggested appointing a suitable convenor for each of the working groups. The composition of these groups could be decided in consultation with all the leaders.
The Prime Minister said he has instructed the security forces to be "more mindful" of human rights and be sensitive to the liberties and self-respect of ordinary people.
The Prime Minister said at the same time it is "our collective responsibility to create an atmosphere where the people of the state can be free from the fear of oppression and terrorist activities and go about their normal lives like their fellow countrymen.
"If this requires strengthening the state police -- both in numbers and materially -- the Central Government will be willing to support that."
About rehabilitation of orphans and families affected by violence, the Prime Minister said he would ask the home ministry and state government to work out a credible mechanism for their support.
On the peace process with Pakistan, Singh said he had repeatedly conveyed to President Pervez Musharraf and the people of Pakistan that India was sincerely committed to peace and development in this region.
"Our government is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. There is also realisation that terrorism is an enemy of civilised societies," he said.
The working Group set up on strengthening relations between the state and Centre would deliberate on matters relating to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Union and also methods of strengthening democracy, secularism and rule of law in the state.
It would also deliberate on effective devolution of powers among different regions to meet region, sub-regional and ethnic aspirations.
The Group dealing with confidence building measures would evolve among other things measures to improve condition of the people affected by militancy, schemes to rehabilitate all orphans and widows affected by militancy and issues relating to the relaxation of conditions for persons who have forsworn militancy.
It will also evolve an approach considering issues relating to return of Kashmiri youths from areas controlled by Pakistan and an effective rehabilitation policy including employment for Kashmiri pandit migrants.
The Group set up on strengthening relations accross the Line of Control would recommend measures to simplify procedures to facilitate travel across the LoC, increase goods traffic, expand people-to-people contact, including promotion of pilgrimage and group tourism and open up new routes such as Kargil-Skardu.
The Group on economic debvelopment would evolve a strategy that insures balanced economic development and employment generation, as also regional and sub-regional development within the state.
For ensuring good governance another Group would consider increased responsiveness, accountability and transparency of the administration, effective measures to strengthen local self-government, effectively monitor development programmes, institute zero tolerance for human rights violation, strengthen right to information and provide adequate security to all segments of society, particularly the minority communities.