PM walks peace talk
GHOST TOWN Srinagar shut down in protest, terror attacks continued, the big players kept away. But on Day One of the Second Round Table conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh walked the peace talk, alone, holding out hope for a generation of Kashmiris that had turned their backs on India to take up arms.india Updated: May 25, 2006 10:08 IST
GHOST TOWN Srinagar shut down in protest, terror attacks continued, the big players kept away. But on Day One of the Second Round Table conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh walked the peace talk, alone, holding out hope for a generation of Kashmiris that had turned their backs on India to take up arms.
Singh announced a review of cases of all detainees, "including those (who) crossed over (to PoK) after violating our laws and who are now anxious to come home". Over 3,000 Kashmiri youth crossed over to Pakistan and were trained in militant camps in the first flush of the separatist movement. With the dream of freedom soured, many now are eager to come back. A safe passage and amnesty for former militants has been a demand of several Kashmiri leaders from the Hurriyat and the PDP.
In his opening remarks, Singh expressed no acrimony against the moderate Hurriyat conference that boycotted the conclave a move which, may argue, has made the meet a non-starter. (The BJP's state unit and the Ladakh Buddhist Association also stayed away.)
"To resolve all political issues, all forms of dialogue should continue. In this connection, the dialogue with the Hurriyat was positive," he remarked, while expressing hope that the separatists will join such conferences at an appropriate time.
Discussions of the meet, Singh said, could focus on political institutions and arrangements, which can strengthen the relationship between the state and the Centre as well as institutional arrangements that can bring people from both sides of the LoC closer. Other issues that can be taken up are security of the people, human rights and good governance, he said.
"Second, how can the different regions in this state be brought together while recognising their distinct identities? Third, what is the economic future of the state? And, fourth, what are the steps needed to restore public self-confidence?" the PM asked
There were two dimensions to the Kashmir problem. "One is the relationship between Delhi and Srinagar and the other is the relationship between Delhi and Islamabad.”
1 Militants carried out three grenade attacks in Srinagar and Anantnag, injuring 15 people
2 Accusing Centre and state govt of being soft towards separatists and militants, several political parties staged demonstrations against the roundtable