M A I N   N E W S

Manmohan, Sonia in J-K vow to fight terror
PM says Centre willing to talk to those who shun violence
Arun Joshi/TNS

the high-profile visit

The Prime Minister paid tributes to the Armymen killed in Monday’s attack by Hizbul militants
He and Congress president Sonia Gandhi visited the injured jawans in hospital and praised their bravery and dedication 
At Kishtwar, the PM laid the stone for the 850-MW Ratle hydel project
The PM met a number of delegations, including those of the National Conference and the Congress, in Srinagar

United against terror
The country is united in the fight against terror. We will foil all their plans.
— Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister

Srinagar, June 25
A day after terrorists killed eight Armymen, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi kept their date with Kashmir on Tuesday.

Delivering an unambiguous message that the nation was committed to the development and peace of Jammu and Kashmir, they stressed the need for defeating terrorism, which has tarnished the state’s image for over two decades. “The Centre is willing to talk to anyone who shuns violence,” the PM said on the sidelines of a function at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex here.

Though this has been the central theme of the government, separatists and militant outfits have insisted on a trilateral and unconditional dialogue with Indian, Pakistani and Kashmiri representatives.

A heavy security blanket enveloped the state capital with helicopters hovering over Srinagar’s skyline and a massive deployment of forces on the ground.

The steady theme of achieving peace and progress for the state by fighting terrorism dominated Day 1 of the PM and Sonia Gandhi’s two-day visit. After having delivered an unambiguous message at Kishtwar in the Jammu region that terrorism would be defeated in all its forms and manifestations by a united nation and the state would not be allowed to suffer any further on this count, both Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi drove to the base hospital in Srinagar and met the injured soldiers and wished them speedy recovery.

“I pay homage to the slain soldiers and assure that the whole nation is united in the fight against terrorism,” the Prime Minister said.

Sonia also reiterated the resolve to fight terror. In Srinagar, the PM met a number of delegations, including those of the National Conference and the Congress. The National Conference reiterated its demand to restore greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and described it as a “panacea for all ills plaguing the state”.

Both spoke about the state’s development at great length, whether it was providing power to far-flung areas or the development of backward areas or setting up of self-help groups.

Sonia turned nostalgic about her family’s ties with Kashmir. Her narrative touched upon the times of late prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, who, she said, cared for the people of Kashmir, especially of backward areas. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also shared his assessment of the situation. Earlier, Governor NN Vohra and the CM received the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi at Udhampur and joined them in Kishtwar to lay the foundation stone of the 850-MW Ratle project.





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