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Attack on jawans cowardly, says Manmohan

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi enquiring about the health of a jawan injured in Monday’s militant attack, at the Army base hospital in Badamibagh cantonment in Srinagar on Tuesday. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad are also seen.— PHOTO: NISSAR AHMAD
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi enquiring about the health of a jawan injured in Monday’s militant attack, at the Army base hospital in Badamibagh cantonment in Srinagar on Tuesday. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad are also seen.— PHOTO: NISSAR AHMAD

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday described the killing of eight soldiers in a militant attack in Jammu and Kashmir as the ‘most reprehensible and cowardly act’ but asserted that the Centre had no hesitation in talking to “those who shun violence.”

Interacting with a select group of journalists, Dr. Singh said his government was “always ready to talk to those who shun violence.” He was asked whether there was any possibility of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government involving the Valley’s militant and separatist leadership in a fresh dialogue process.

To a question on Monday’s attack on a military convoy, he said: “Most unfortunate. And, this should not, I think, lead us for our opponents to conclude that we will succumb to the terrorists’ efforts to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir, to destabilise our economy and country.”

The Prime Minister clarified that he was not going to announce any economic and developmental package for Jammu and Kashmir during his two-day visit that began with an interaction with victims of earthquake at Kishtwar in the Jammu province on Tuesday. He said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah would call him up whenever the State was in need of any special arrangement. “This time I am here only for laying the foundation stone for the Rattle power project and extension of train service from Qazigund to Banihal.”

Accompanied by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Dr. Singh released a postal stamp on Kashmir’s romantic and revolutionary poet Peerzada Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor. Ms. Gandhi referred to a film made on Mehjoor 40 years ago in Kashmiri, Hindi and Bengali. She said Mehjoor was an inspiration for many Kashmiri poets who cherished pluralism, communal harmony and universal brotherhood as the basic values of Kashmir’s culture and ethos.

Dr. Singh termed Mehjoor a great revolutionary poet, who had popularised his vision and philosophy of communal harmony, justice and liberty through his poetry for decades. The Prime Minister said the founders and makers of Kashmir’s composite culture and plural society like Lallaishwari (Lal Ded) and Sheikhul Alam Sheikh Nooruddin Noorani had left indelible marks of communal harmony on all generations of the local population. He said that this very legacy of Kashmiriyat kept the Valley away from the communal frenzy in 1947.

Terms Monday’s killing of eight soldiers by militants in Jammu and Kashmir the most reprehensible and cowardly act

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