All forces holding contrary beliefs in Kashmir should come forward for a meaningful dialogue, Governor N.N. Vohra said on Tuesday, noting that India’s liberal democratic framework provides space for divergent opinions.

He also said the security forces will have to be on tight vigil in view of increasing infiltration over the past weeks but asked them ensure that no law-abiding citizen is harassed.

“While the outgoing year witnessed a significant decline in terrorism-related incidents, there has been a sustained increase in infiltration in the past weeks,” Mr. Vohra said addressing a Republic Day function at the MAM Stadium here.

“This leaves no scope for lowering of the guard by the security forces who will need to maintain constant vigil on all fronts while ensuring that the rights of the people are respected and protected and no law-abiding person suffers any harassment,” he said.

In past two decades, growths of extremist ideologies and terrorist activities, sponsored from across the frontiers, have resulted in enormous human and economic losses, he said.

Mr. Vohra said that the agitations leading to violent confrontation and repeated calls for bandhs and hartals have resulted in severe economic losses to the state and brought adversities for the common man and daily wage earners.

“The elements in our society who have not so far been inclined to pursue the democratic path for the resolution of their demands need to seriously reflect on the losses suffered by the people in past years and recognise the futility of continuing on the path of confrontation.

“We must bring to an end this most unfortunate phase of agitations and confrontations. It would be necessary for all those who hold contrary beliefs to come forward to participate in a meaningful dialogue,” Mr. Vohra said.

The functioning of public institutions has been most adversely affected by agitations and the repeated disruptions of the academic schedules have done irreparable damage to the future of the young generation, the Governor said.

“Our liberal democratic framework provides ample space for divergent thoughts and opinions,” he said adding conciliation and dialogue are the best means of resolving all issues involving contrary positions.

He said there is an urgent need for re-invigorating the state’s centuries-old pluralistic ethos and invaluable traditions of communal harmony and brotherhood.

Mr. Vohra said the state government has been receiving generous support from the Centre and the outlay under the 11th five year plan at Rs. 25,833 crore is 78 per cent more than then 10th plan allocation.

For the current financial year, the state has the highest ever annual outlay of Rs. 5500 crore, another Rs. 1200 crore under PM’s Reconstruction Plan and Rs. 220 crore as counter-part share to enable it to raise a matching loan from the Asian Development Bank, he said.

While devoting high priority to enhancing economic growth, the government would need to ensure equitable distribution particularly addressing inter-regional and intra-regional concerns, he said.

Asking the government to pay special attention to needs of the people residing in remote and backward areas so that the interests of Gujjar, Bakerwals, Pahari-speaking people, SC/STs and minority groups are taken care of, Mr. Vohra said a suitable environment would need to be created to enable the return and re-settlement of Kashmiri Pandits.