M A I N   N E W S

Vohra briefs Mufti on Indo-EU grouping

Srinagar, June 19
The Centre’s interlocutor on Kashmir, Mr N.N. Vohra, who is here for the Indo-European Union round-table conference, met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and briefed him about the activities of the grouping.

Mr Vohra, who is the co-chairman of the Indo-EU round-table conference, called on Mr Sayeed at his residence last evening for the first meeting between the two since the former arrived in the city for the conference two days ago.

The other co-chairman, Mr Roger Briesch, later joined them for a detailed meeting on issues concerning the two sides, including trade and tourism.

Mr Sayeed hosted a dinner for the delegates from the European Union and India.

The Chief Minister asked the visiting EU delegates to persuade their countries to withdraw adverse travel advisories warning citizens against visiting Jammu and Kashmir.

The situation in the state has improved, he said, adding that the delegates would have observed this themselves.

The Chief Minister apprised the members of the current situation in the state and the steps taken by his government to instil a sense of security among the people and accelerate the pace of development.

He said the long period of turmoil in the state had damage the basic infrastructure, with critical sectors like education and communication bearing the brunt.

The Chief Minister said prior to the October, 2002, Assembly elections, democratic institutions in the state had suffered a credibility crisis. He said these elections were the fairest democratic exercise in the state so far, which threw up a coalition government committed to the welfare of people of all three regions.

He said the coalition government believed in the freedom of expression. Separatist leaders were released from jails and the government did not arrest them even when they were running anti-election campaign, Mr Sayeed said.

He said security forces and had been made accountable for their actions and wherever any human rights violation took place, the guilty were dealt with according to the law.

Mr Briesch praised Mr Sayeed for his commitment to peace and development and said the fact that the EU members were here was proof enough that the situation in the state had changed, as earlier it was difficult to move around freely. — PTI

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