Friday, November 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

POTA on hold in J&K
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 21
The Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr G. C. Saxena, today announced that POTA would not be implemented in the state and the government would review cases of detentions made without trial or on non-specific charges.

Mr Saxena was addressing a joint session of the two Houses of the legislature here today. A special five-day session of the Assembly began here.

The Governor said the existing laws were adequate to deal with militancy and as such there was no need to resort to POTA. He urged the Centre to initiate serious and result-oriented dialogue, without any pre-condition, with the members of the state legislature and other segments of public in all three regions of the state.

He said rehabilitation of former militants who have rejoined the mainstream was high on the agenda of the government. The existing surrender policy would be substituted by a policy of responsive rehabilitation.

The human rights commission will be strengthened to ensure expeditious investigation of complaints of custodial killings and violation of human rights so that the persons responsible for such acts are identified and brought to justice.

While taking all possible measures to protect people from militancy those young men of the state who have taken up militancy will be encouraged to return to their families and the mainstream with the assurance that they would receive security and justice.

He said the government would review all such laws that were being used to deprive people of their basic right to life and liberty guaranteed under the Constitution. “We have to create an atmosphere of goodwill and trust,” the Governor added.

He said the government would soon formulate a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package for the families affected by militancy. The ex-gratia relief for the next of kin of those killed in militancy would be raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh.

He said it would be the endeavour of the government to ensure a responsive, pro-active, transparent and accountable administration and enforce financial discipline and fiscal reforms.

The government shall introduce systems to improve efficiency and accountability at all levels in the police force.

Referring to the Kashmiri Pandits who have migrated out of the Valley, Mr Saxena said without their presence in the Valley its political and cultural landscape was incomplete and substantially barren. The government would seek cooperation of all sections of society to create an atmosphere conducive to their safe return to the Valley.

He announced that the government had decided to grant full powers in consonance with the Constitution to the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council. A similar council would be set up in Kargil also for its development.

A minority commission will be set up in the state soon, he added.

Mr Saxena said the Centre would be requested to review the Indus Water Treaty of 1960 with Pakistan so as to safeguard the legitimate economic interests of the state or else compensate the state for the enormous loss on this account.


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