|Monday, June 4, 2001,
Combating militancy sans
An Indian soldier waves to visitors at a military bunker on the Pakistan side on the Line of Control (LOC) in Chakothi May 28, 2001. Seven months ago a gesture such as this would have been fatal, a trigger for deadly
artillery exchanges. Now, on one of the world's most scenic fronts, an uncertain truce holds.
— Reuters photo
Pant’s veiled attack on
Pant’s J & K visit study tour: Lone
Combating militancy sans guns
Partapur (Ladakh), June 3
The locals, who are vulnerable to the influence of Kashmiri militants due to their geographic proximity to Pakistan, have now for the past nine months been under the spell of “Operation Sadbhavna,” the brainchild of Lt-Gen Arjun Ray, General Officer Commanding of 14 Corps.
Terming the operation a joint political, civilian and military effort, General Ray said the concept of Islamic fundamentalism was a shibboleth. “We have started redefining the role of the Army where it no more wins the war but prevents it.”
“We have started the process of de-alienation of the population of the two key villages near the border — Turtuk and Tyakshi,” he added.
The operation, launched nine months ago, has, at its core, human development and border development which is part of “border management”. This concept must be replicated in the whole of Jammu and Kashmir region, General Ray said.
Computer centres have sprung up in Kargil, Dras and Turtuk. The National Council for Urdu Development and the IBM, India, are closely working with the Army in the computer project in the border areas. The IBM, India, recently sent 30 computers free of cost to the Turtuk and Tyakshi regions.
“Computer training is a tool for education and empowerment and is mainly focused on getting jobs for the youth here at this stage”, General Ray said at a function here.
“What we have achieved is a convergence of the district administration, local MPs, NGOs, sarpanches and the Army (as a facilitator),” he said.
The Army has set up 16 free Sadbhavna schools, where IT and customised software in English are used. There are special training centres for the mentally and physically challenged, who are helped by volunteers from Bangalore.
The locals are trained to reduce infant, prenatal and maternal mortality rates. Mortality rates are below the national average here. The enhanced primary and secondary health care by six medical aid centres have been a sounding success with 35,612 patients treated so far.
The treatment for prosthesis is free. Severe cases are treated at Command Hospital, Chandimandir and PGI, Chandigarh. “Fortyone patients have been treated so far in the last eight months,” General Ray said.
For women’s empowerment there are vocational training centres for 500 girls, who are given computer training, education up to class XII with CBSE software, stipend and free lunch. The girls are then provide jobs as schoolteachers, nursing assistants and dental technicians and also through 50 per cent reservation in village cooperatives.
For community development there are rural electrification projects in selective areas, village irrigation and anti- drought schemes, generating local economy through poultry and high-altitude vegetable production.
Pant’s veiled attack on APHC
Jammu, June 3
“In this situation, if any group does not want to assist in the peace process, it will have to answer to the people of the state as to whether it is not being obstructionist,” Mr Pant told PTI on the completion of his maiden visit to the state after he was appointed interlocutor on April 5.
Stating that his mission to the state was to facilitate the evolution of an agreed solution to the Kashmir problem, Mr Pant said: “Whether the Hurriyat wants to respond to my invitation or not is a matter for it to decide. I have not come to score meeting points. My purpose is far more serious. This is an effort to begin a political dialogue which would help in the restoration of peace in the state.”
Mr Pant would be soon meeting Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to apprise him of the outcome of his visit to the state and the talks he held with various groups.
Some of the groups including the state unit of the CPI, had suggested that a general amnesty should be announced for Kashmiri militants who wanted to shun violence.
“I will have to analyse all suggestions that have been made to me and then discuss it with the people concerned in the government,” he said.
Mr Pant did not offer any reply to a question whether the issue of granting amnesty would be considered soon. He said: “I do not want to comment on individual suggestions made by certain groups.”
Terming his visit as “fruitful and useful,” he said: “It has been for me a necessary visit because I came to understand very much the difficulties and concern as well the perception and aspirations of people living in different parts of the state.”
“It is my distinct impression that there is a very strong urge for peace in the Kashmir valley as well as other parts of the state,” he said.
He said this urge for peace amongst the people was today creating conditions in which persons from various schools of thought, different views had come forward and “frankly” put their views before him.
Asked whether the government was intending to hold talks with Kashmiri militant groups like the Hizbul Mujahideen, Mr Pant said: “The Centre has made it clear that doors have not been closed for talks with Kashmiri militants who are desirous of peace and that holds even now.”
About the demands raised in Leh and Jammu, Mr Pant said there was an urgent need to take note of the strength of “regional feelings and aspirations.”
Asked whether he had made some assurance to the people in these regions about the demands, Mr Pant said: “I have told the people here and in other places that dialogue is going to continue and wherever it is possible to sort out some of these questions, we will do our best to do so.”
Pant’s J&K visit study tour: Lone New Delhi, June 3 Jammu and Kashmir’s Minister of State for Home Mushtaq Ahmad Lone said Kashmir was the “core” issue between India and Pakistan and relations between the two countries could not normalise till this was resolved. “Mr K.C. Pant was on a study mission. He had a mission of studying the Kashmir issue rather than negotiating a solution of the problem,” Mr Lone told PTI in an interview here. Stating that the Pant mission was a “good beginning”, he said “but resolution lies in direct talks between India and Pakistan.” “The only way to see an end to militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is to talk to Pakistan as that country supports terrorism in the state,” the minister said, adding that “we are dealing with cross-border terrorism and not internal security problem.”
New Delhi, June 3
Jammu and Kashmir’s Minister of State for Home Mushtaq Ahmad Lone said Kashmir was the “core” issue between India and Pakistan and relations between the two countries could not normalise till this was resolved.
“Mr K.C. Pant was on a study mission. He had a mission of studying the Kashmir issue rather than negotiating a solution of the problem,” Mr Lone told PTI in an interview here.
Stating that the Pant mission was a “good beginning”, he said “but resolution lies in direct talks between India and Pakistan.”
“The only way to see an end to militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is to talk to Pakistan as that country supports terrorism in the state,” the minister said, adding that “we are dealing with cross-border terrorism and not internal security problem.”
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