Monday, April 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

7 LeT men shot while crossing border
Vohra leaves for talks in valley today
Tribune News Service and PTI

Jammu, April 20
Seven militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed by the Indian troops at Nala Balnoi village in Mendhar sector of Poonch today.

According to the police, the seven were infiltrators and were shot while crossing over into the Indian territory.

In another incident two militants were killed in an encounter with the security forces at Madana village in Surankot area. A large quantity of arms and ammunition were recovered from them.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Poonch, M.K. Singh, said the troops saw some heavily-armed terrorists trying to enter the country by sneaking through the Line of Control in the wee hours today. When challenged the ultras opened heavy fire on the jawans. In the following gunbattle all seven terrorists were shot dead.

NEW DELHI: Coming after the Kashmir visit of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Centre’s interlocutor N.N. Vohra will begin a week-long trip to the valley from tomorrow to start a dialogue process with various groups there amid his assertion that “doors for talks are fully open” for all sections wanting peace.

Mr Vohra’s mission will start with talks with leaders of political parties represented in the state Assembly and then span to others.

“Initially, I will hold talks with parties like the People’s Democratic Party, the Congress, the National Conference and the CPM,” he said ahead of his visit.

He would also meet other prominent individuals, including some former Chief Ministers and ministers “and all those who want to talk to me.”

Without entering into the nitty gritty of whom he would talk to, Mr Vohra said, “Doors are fully open for talks to anyone who wants to see restoration of peace and normalcy in the state”.

He pointed out that the invitation for talks was open to all and that he had not extended any invitation individually.

In this regard, Mr Vohra had adopted an approach different from that of the previous interlocutor K.C. Pant, who had individually sent letters to all groups, including the Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party of Shabir Shah.

While Mr Shah had responded to Mr Pant’s invitation and held four rounds of talks, the Hurriyat had turned it down.

Mr Vohra said his initial meetings with the leaders of the PDP, the Congress, the NC and the CPM had been fixed after they showed willingness to talk following his nomination as an interlocutor.

“This visit will start the process of dialogue,” he said, adding that more rounds of talks would be held subsequently.

After visiting the valley, Mr Vohra would travel to the other two regions of the state — Jammu and Ladakh — to hold talks with various groups and leaders there.

He would also be ready to meet anybody in Delhi also “depending on the willingness and convenience of those who want to meet.”

“Anybody interested in seeing the restoration of peace in the state can call me up or communicate through other means,” Mr Vohra said.

He felt that the Prime Minister’s visit to Kashmir and his expression of views on talks with various sections in the state would help his mission. PTI

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