ANDHRA PRADESH

Cong-PDP common programmed in J&K hailed

VISAKHAPATNAM NOV. 9. The common minimum programme of the Congress-People's Democratic Party combine in Jammu and Kashmir was a step in the right direction that could pave the way for a healthy coalition culture in the country, averred speakers at a seminar on the `CMP for J and K' here on Thursday.

They also emphasised that it was time the Government and political parties made an earnest effort at implementing the 73rd and the 74th Amendments to the Constitution so that local and regional aspirations were fulfilled.

Participants pointed out that 14 years of militancy witnessed severe damage to the morale of the State's people, with over 30,000 persons including hundreds of soldiers losing their lives; 2,000 custodial deaths; a large number of orphans and widows of shattered families; and 6,000 missing children. Militancy had also led to destruction of 401 bridges, 828 schools and 40 colleges. As many as 350,000 artisans, who were generating a wealth of Rs.1,000 crores and owners of houseboats, each earning more than Rs.4,000 a day, were in dire distress unable to have two meals a day.

The discussion centred around the political developments in the State with the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, and his daughter, Mehbooba, receiving wide support from all its three regions.

The consensus that emerged was: "The problem in Kashmir is a national problem and all sections of the people should cooperate in the endeavour to restore people's confidence in the Government.''

The seminar was organised by the Centre for Policy Studies of Gayatri Vidya Parishad, and its director, A. Prasanna Kumar, introduced the themeWhile R. Venkata Rao of Andhra University considered the latest political outcome as a rejection of terrorism, P.N. Rao and C.V. Krishna Rao felt that cautious optimism was justified at the moment.

All speakers were unanimous that Pakistan would go all out to derail the peace process in tandem with the mindless terrorist outfits.

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