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Withdraw troops from peaceful areas: NC
Srinagar, March 19
Describing Kashmir as a political issue, National Conference president, Omar Abdullah here today sought an “out of the box” resolution between India and Pakistan involving all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir.

Migrants from PoK seek compensation
Jammu, March 19
Leaders of SOS International, an organisation of migrants from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, have expressed dismay over the way they were not involved in the recent roundtable conference convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi.


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Withdraw troops from peaceful areas: NC
Ehsan Fazil
Tribune News Service

National Conference President Omar Abdullah addresses party supporters in Srinagar
National Conference President Omar Abdullah addresses party supporters in Srinagar on Sunday. — Photo by Mohd Amin War

Srinagar, March 19
Describing Kashmir as a political issue, National Conference president, Omar Abdullah here today sought an “out of the box” resolution between India and Pakistan involving all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf were capable of solving the Kashmir problem and restoration of peace in the state.

The National Conference President was addressing party workers at the party’s headquarter at Nawa-e-Subh here after attending the pugwash meeting in Islamabad held earlier this month. Referring to his meeting with Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf, the NC president said that they discussed the issue of autonomy to both sides of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The NC president, who was accompanied by senior party leader and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Abdul Rahim Rather during his Pakistan visit, appreciated role of General Musharraf. Mr Rather described Pakistan visit of the NC leader as encouraging where the Pakistan’s leadership had given a positive response.

Mr Omar also sought New Delhi to play its role with open mind and heart in resolving the issue for the restoration of peace in the region. He said that the central government should talk to all separatist leaders and parties with different voices in the state. In this connection he referred to forthcoming round-table conference scheduled to the held here in May as a follow-up of the February roundtable meet held in Delhi. He urged the government to involve Kashmiri militant groups in the talks and not those coming from across the border for “so called Jehad”. He also sought the return of the Kashmiris who had been living across the borders for the past 16 years.

Referring to the claims of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on the restoration of peace in the state, Omar sought withdrawal of security forces from peaceful areas. He demanded deployment of the security forces in the militancy-infested areas and along the borders. He said that the National Conference lost power in the last Assembly elections due to some of its own wrongs. He however added that the party stood for complete peace and normalcy in the state as the gun was no solution to any problem. He lamented that innocents were being killed and a large number of NC workers and activists had been killed in the past 16 years of militancy.

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Migrants from PoK seek compensation
Our Correspondent

Jammu, March 19
Leaders of SOS International, an organisation of migrants from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, have expressed dismay over the way they were not involved in the recent roundtable conference convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi.

This was stated in a memorandum submitted by the SOS leaders led by Dr Yash Pal Gupta, vice-president, to Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, here today.

The migrant leaders alleged that since 1947 all those people, who had migrated from Pakistan and occupied Kashmir and settled in Jammu, had been given a raw deal by the successive state and Central governments. They wanted Mr Paswan to take up their case with the Prime Minister so that they were given reservation in the state legislature.

They also demanded that their children be given reservation in seats in professional colleges.

Mr Rajiv Chuni said here today that, “Our struggle for justice has yet to yield desired results”. He said while the Kashmiri migrants received cash assistance, free ration and free lodging those from Pakistan and occupied Kashmir had not been paid a penny.

The migrant leaders demanded that they be given compensation for the immovable assets they had left in Pakistan and occupied Kashmir at the time of Partition.

Mr Chuni said Mr Paswan assured the migrant leaders that he would first discuss the issue with the Prime Minister and later seek approval for discussing the matter in the Union Cabinet.

Mr Paswan expressed his surprise over the level of discrimination being meted out against them.

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