Wednesday, April 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Vohra begins mission Kashmir
CPI seeks greater autonomy for J&K
Our Correspondent And PTI

Srinagar, April 22
The government should grant greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and resolve all contentious issues, including Kashmir, with Pakistan through talks for a lasting solution to the Kashmir problem, the CPI today told the Centre’s interlocuter, Mr N.N. Vohra.

“The Centre should give greater autonomy to the state to resolve the political issue of Kashmir.... And for everlasting solution of the (Kashmir) problem, the government should initiate dialogue with Pakistan to settle all disputes to pave the way for friendly relations,” CPI state secretary Abdul Rehman Takroo said.

Mr Takroo, who led the CPI delegation at the 30-minute discussion with Mr Vohra, said they deliberated on the political and economic situation in the state.

The CPI sought liberal financial help to overcome the problems being faced by the state due to 13 years of militancy, he said.

Describing unemployment as a grave problem, the party said it was imperative to implement the economic package announced by Mr Vajpayee during his recent visit to Srinagar, sincerely and honestly.

The CPI also sought the release of innocent persons languishing in jails and an end to alleged human rights violations by security forces, Mr Takroo said.

JAMMU: The main opposition National Conference leadership has suggested to the Government of India and its interlocutor, Mr N.N. Vohra, to initiate talks with those separatists, especially the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, who dispute the state’s accession with India and have not accepted the sanctity of the Constitution of India and Jammu and Kashmir state.

Suggestion number two emanating from the President of the National Conference, Mr Omar Abdullah, is that efforts be made to resume the Indo-Pak dialogue, failing which the American Government, after its war in Iraq was over, would thrust a solution on Kashmir which may not be in the interest of Delhi and Islamabad.

Mr Omar Abdullah does not seem to be opposed to interacting with Mr Vohra but he is of the opinion that dialogue with the elected representatives may not clinch the issue. He wants Mr Vohra to make an effort to rope in not only Hurriyat Conference leaders but also those Kashmiri militants who bid farewell to the gun. He is opposed to any dialogue with foreign mercenaries.

He has said that treating those elected to the Assembly as the representatives of people of Kashmir as a misnomer on the plea that the elected people secure only 30 per cent votes. He has said that the Government of India and Mr Vohra have to find out who are the leaders who represent 70 per cent people who did not vote.

The NC president is of the view that if Mr Vohra talks to leaders of mainstream political parties and houseboat owners, as his predecessor K.C. Pant did, he too would not succeed in resolving the internal turmoil.

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