Centre announces 8-point initiative for Kashmir

11:00AM Sat 25 Sep, 2010

New Delhi - Announcing a eight-point Kashmir formula, the Centre today said a Group of Interlocutors led by an eminent persons will hold ''sustained dialogue'' with all sections of Jammu and Kashmir and also review deployment of security forces in the Valley, especially in Srinagar.

Unveiling a package of measures approved by the Cabinet Committee of Security(CCS) at its meeting here in a bid to deal with the civil unrest in the Kashmir Valley, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the state Government will be advised to review the notification of areas as "Disturbed Areas". The unrest has claimed the lives of 105 persons since June 10.

The 30-minute CCS meeting was presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Chidambaram did not elaborate whether the review of the Disturbed Areas notification was a prelude to any phased withdrawal of the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas of the Valley.
J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the Centre's initiative saying it is a positive development and must lead to a resolution to all political issues of Jammu and Kashmir.

The CCS decisions were taken after it reviewed the situation in the Valley and considered the report of the recent visit of the 36-member all-party delegation to J and K submitted by Chidambaram, who had led the team.

In a bid to reach out to the masses, the Centre also advised the J and K government to release students and youth who have been arrested or detained for stone pelting and similar violations of law during the Valley unrest, and withdraw all charges against them.
The state governmetn has also been advised to review cases of all Public Safety Act(PSA) detenues and withdraw detention orders in appropriate cases.

"Government will appoint a Group of Interlocutors under the Chairmanship of an eminent person to begin the process of sustained dialogue with political parties, groups, students, civil society," Chidambaram said.

However, he did not say the exact composition of the group and skirted the question and said "it can be either one plus two or one plus three...we will see."

The CCS decided to advice the state government to immediately convene a meeting of the Unified Command and review the deployment of the security forces in Kashmir valley, especially at Srinagar, with particular reference to descale bunkers and check points in the summer capital and other towns, the Home Minister said.

(PTI), Sep 25