Saturday, June 13, 2009

Not dispute, India says Kashmir is problem

Naseer A Ganai

Srinagar, June 12: The Home Minister P. Chidambaram today said the Jammu and Kashmir State was facing peculiar problem and it needs political solution.

“JK faces a special situation and it has faced special situation from many many years. And those problems require a political solution,” the Home Minister said while addressing media persons here.

Flanked by the chief minister Omer Abdullah, the Home Minister said unresolved political problems were coming in way of development of the State. “Therefore while we address some problems shared by all states, we will have to address unique problems that come in way of the development and obviously one has in mind political issue involved in JK,” the Home Minister said.  Asked whether Government would invite separatists for dialogue, he said to address the political issues government would engage everyone for dialogue. “Government is aware about the political issues involving Jammu and Kashmir. The process of dialogue has to commence. That is my intention and policy of the government and we will discuss the matter and commence (dialogue) at appropriate time,” he said.

Troop level should be at 1989

The Home Minister when asked about the Chief Minister Omer Abdullah’s demand that the troop level should be reduced to 1989 position, said government has agreement on the issue. “I am aware of this request,” he said. “In fact we spent significant part yesterday looking at security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and how we should respond while keeping in mind that militant activities are contained and reduced. I will discuss (the issue) with the Prime Minister and Defence Minister. I will move on that road. We have agreed on that road and you are welcome to join us,” the Home Minister said.

Shopian incident

About the Shopian incident, he said the state govt has briefed him on Shopian incident. He said it is intention of State government to hold thorough inquiry and punish the guilty. “The intention of the chief minister CM is hold thorough inquiry and punish the guilty and I am certain thorough inquiry would be conducted and guilty punished,” he said.

Asked whether the State government mishandled the case he said, “The intention is not to take action. The intention is to take action based on the information received by the State government. I think one must acknowledge that the intentions are good and if the intentions are good there will be proper action, proper follow up and any one found guilty would be punished,” he said.


About the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and its revocation the Home Minister said the AFSPA was subject matter that has been taken up by the Chief Minister Omer Abdullah with him on March 1, 2009. “I had promised him that I will look into the matter,” he said. He said he would discuss the matter with prime minister and defence minister and look into it in all earnest. “Every relevant aspect of the issue has been discussed,” he said. He however said he would issue statement after holding discussion with the prime minister and the defence minister on the issue.

Primary role for Police

The Home Minister said government has intention to redraw the lines of responsibility for security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir and the State police would be given primary responsibility.

“It is our intention to redraw the lines of responsibilities,” he said. Elaborating, he said Army has responsibilities for conventional defence on the borders, of counter infiltration along the borders and to “counter terrorism” within the State. “The paramilitary forces are to intended aide the State police in maintaining the law and public order and countering terrorism. The State police is principal instrument for maintaining the law and order, public order and fighting militancy,” he said. He said it would take some time to draw the lines of responsibilities.  “The primary responsibility would lie on the State police,” he emphasized.

Asked whether police would substitute the Army, he said the Government would like the Army to operate in areas in far away from towns and cities. “If the state police call paramilitary forces for an aide then the paramilitary forces have responsibility to come to the aide of the State government. But the primary responsibility to maintain law and order in towns and cities must lie with the State police,” he said. “In a difficult situation if army is called for help, it has to come forward,” he said.

Agitation on rise

The Home Minister said militancy has come down in the State and the militant activities have been reduced and contained. “There is of course infiltration but many infiltrations have been neutralized on the borders,” he said. However, he said agitational activities were on the rise. “While in democracy peaceful demonstration and agitations are unavoidable, we must ensure agitation must not interfere with the normal lives of people. People want to work. Normal life can’t be interrupted virtually everyday,” he said. “I appeal everybody that agitational activities must be contained and must not interfere with the peoples’ lives virtually every day. I believe that most organisation have began rethink over the subject that the normal life should carry on,” he said.

Asked about use of force on peaceful agitators he said, “Ideally one would like demonstrations are peaceful and there is no cane charge.” But, he said, it was an ideal situation. He said in a democracy one accepts peaceful demonstration and agitation, but they should not interfere with the normal life. “Certainly people have right to agitation. But there must be some moderation,” he said.

On US statement on Kashmir

The Home Minister refused to comment on the statement issued by the US under secretary of State William Burns that Kashmir issue should be resolved according wishes of Kashmiris. “I don’t have to respond to what Mr Burns has said it. “If Mr Burns has said it, why should we respond to it? Let us confine ourselves what we are doing here for last two days,” he said in response to a question.


Asked whether there is Taliban in Kashmir, he said there were no intelligence inputs of any Taliban threat to the State.

 Stability and security

He said the stability and the security were must to create environment of stability and security in the State. “These are pre-requisite for economic development,” he said.

He said the recent Assembly and Parliamentary elections have brought stability.

“Next step is to improve the security environment. I have assured the chief minister and the State government that the centre government would aide the state government in every possible manner to improve the security environment in the state,” he said.




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