Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday hinted at resuming talks with separatists, saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had opened the doors of dialogue and wanted to take on board people from all shades of life.
Speaking at a function at the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) headquarters here, Mr. Chidambaram said Jammu and Kashmir had many problems and challenges to overcome, both political and economic.
“Of course, there is a political problem which needs to be addressed. The Prime Minister has opened the doors of dialogue and we want to take on board people from all shades of life. I will absorb all suggestions and I promise that the dialogue process will be taken to its logical conclusion.” He said Dr. Singh had indicated that the process would start soon. He said there was no problem that could not be resolved. Problems were there in other States as well and they were resolved; so would this one.
Mr. Chidambaram said the problem here had two aspects. “Jammu and Kashmir has a unique geographical identity and a unique history, and we have to keep these two things in mind while finding a solution.”
On the economic front, Mr. Chidambaram said unemployment was the biggest problem which led to a sense of insecurity among people. But “we are working on many fronts and are trying to find ways to tackle it.” The Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan [PMRP] is a roadmap for resolving such issues. “Under this Plan, we will be investing in power and we will identify other sectors to generate employment. It will help to boost confidence in the youth.”
Mr. Chidambaram was dismayed that not a single plan was implemented here in time. “But I will personally monitor the PMRP every week and will try to visit the State every month. My next destination will be Baramulla,” he announced.
Mr. Chidambaram lauded the role of the Jammu and Kashmir police in restoring normality in the State. “I myself have confidence in the Jammu and Kashmir police, but I want people to express their faith in the police so that we can assign them a lead role and keep the paramilitary forces on a second line of defence and send the Army to the borders… We are working on these lines and you will find that in a short span of time the Jammu and Kashmir Police will emerge as a frontrunner.”
He said the security situation in the State had improved tremendously. There was a drop in violent incidents, infiltration and killing of civilians and security forces.