New Central formula for Jammu & Kashmir

A child looks at a securityman after the car in which he was travelling along with his family was stopped at a checkpoint during curfew in Srinagar on Friday. The Centre has announced an eight-point initiative to address the Kashmir issue on Saturday.  

The Centre will appoint a group of interlocutors, under the chairmanship of an eminent person, to begin the process of sustained dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir with political parties, groups, students, civil society and other stakeholders.

The decision to begin the process of sustained dialogue was part of the eight-point initiative taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) here on Saturday. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Briefing journalists about the slew of measures finalised, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said the decisions were based on the report submitted by him to the Prime Minister and the inputs of the all-party delegation that had visited Srinagar and Jammu on September 20 and 21. Mr. Chidambaram had led the 39-member all-party delegation to the State.

In a step aimed at reaching out to the people of the State, the Centre would advise the Jammu and Kashmir government to release all students detained for stone-pelting and similar violation of law, and to withdraw all charges.

Mr. Chidambaram said the Centre would request the State government to immediately convene a meeting of the Unified Command to review deployment of security forces in the Kashmir Valley, especially in Srinagar, with particular reference to descaling those at bunkers and check points in the city and other towns. He said the Unified Command would review notifications issued for disturbed areas.

Replying to a question, he said that withdrawal or dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was not discussed.

He said the government would grant an ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakh to the family of each of those killed in civil disturbances in Kashmir since June 11. He said the Centre would also advise the State government to review cases of all Public Safety Act (PSA) detenues and withdraw detention orders in appropriate cases.

Replying to a question, the Home Minister said there were 84 persons under judicial custody, 110 under police custody and 51 had been detained under the Public Safety Act since civil disturbances began in the Kashmir Valley in June. He said that about 108 persons had lost their lives in civil disturbances.

The Centre would request the State government to take steps to immediately reopen all schools, colleges, universities, hold special classes and to ensure examinations are conducted on schedule for the current academic year.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 3:34:03 AM |

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