NATIONAL

Escalation of violence will not affect peace process: Mufti

Jammu Nov. 24. The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today said that the escalation of violence in the State would not come in the way of implementation of his Government's programmes.

At a function here today, the Mufti said, "The increase in violence will also not derail the dialogue process, and we are committed to this cause. The Centre should hold a sincere dialogue with the elected representatives of the State so that an early solution can be found for the various problems."

Expressing concern over the frequent mine blasts on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Mr. Sayeed said, "Such acts of violence and bloodshed will be condemned by all right-thinking people. Nothing can be achieved through bloodshed and violence." He said he had asked the security forces and the police personnel to take adequate safety measures to prevent such incidents

PoK refugees

In another function, the Deputy Chief Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma, said the problems faced by those displaced from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) would receive the utmost priority in the various programmes of the new Government. "It is an irony that despite a lapse of 55 years the problems of PoK refugees have remained unsettled; this should have been solved a long time ago. Their legitimate demands, including their settlement, would receive a sympathetic consideration from the Government, which will provide all possible help. In the past, I had taken up the matter with the Centre as an MP but practically much needs to be done."

Asserting that the problems needed to be tacked on both the political and the constitutional front, he said, "There are many proposals before us. For instance, the State Government is considering reservation for the wards of the refugees in professional colleges, which will assure a bright future for them."