The year 2001 began on a note of hope - of peace. For the first time in a decade of bitter fighting, even key Kashmiri militant leaders indicated that they could consider a negotiated end to the conflict in the Kashmir Valley. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee extended the ceasefire in the Valley and it was hoped that something tangible would emerge. However, the Pakistan based groups and their supporters in Kashmir, who feel the conflict here is is a question of jihad or holy war against India, made it clear that they did not believe in negotiations or dialogue to solve the Kashmir problem. They continue to battle Indian security forces. The fighting rages on. Meanwhile, all kinds of initiatives have been launched by various groups, including the Hurriyat Conference and the National Conference. Local elections have been successfully held in rural Kashmir and there everybody hopes that the business of getting on with their lives will prevail. But peace would continue to be elusive if the horrific killings do not stop.

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