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Separatists must join the mainstream, said Azad

A panic-stricken audience began leaving after rumours of a bomb scare, after a motorbike show was cancelled.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2006 14:05 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday, put the onus on separatist and militant organisations to bring peace to the valley, saying they must take part in the dialogue process initiated by the Centre if they wish to see the Kashmir issue resolved.

"Two round-table conferences were held for finding a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem, but the separatists stayed away. If they want peace to return to the state, they should come forward and participate in the third round-table," Azad said in his Independence Day address at the Bakshi stadium in Srinagar.

He urged militants to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream. "Gun has never solved any issues or problems, and it is unlikely that it will ever do. Militants should renounce the gun culture and join the dialogue process," he said.

The function witnessed few jittery moments after organisers announced a scheduled motorbike show had been cancelled because of slippery ground from heavy rains. A few of the audience began leaving in panic, with some spreading rumours about a bomb scare as they left.

Kashmir Inspector General of Police S M Sahai said there was no bomb scare anywhere inside or near the venue of the celebrations. The function proceeded smoothly otherwise.

On the confidence building measures between India and Pakistan, Azad expressed hope that the trade routes across the LoC would be thrown open very soon. "A list of 70 traders, who will visit the other side for exploring business opportunities, has been sent to Pakistan," he said.

First Published: Aug 15, 2006 14:05 IST