August 2003 News

Door Open For Those Who Shun Terror: PM

27 August 2003
The Statesman

Srinagar: In an obvious reference to the Hurriyat Conference that called for a bandh to protest against his arrival in the Valley to chair the eighth inter state council meet, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee today declared that the Centre's doors were open to those who reject militancy and give up their extreme positions. Mr Vajpayee - speaking at the inaugural session of the inter state council (ISC) that was moved from Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi to an auditorium on the banks of the Dal Lake to send a loud and clear message that the situation in the Valley was turning around , obliquely countered the Hurriyat criticism that successful Assembly election was not of any significance, reiterating that it was not just the 'finest victories' in world history of the victory of the ballot over bullet but 'a mandate for peace'. 'It was a mandate against cross-border terrorism, which the people of this state have suffered for over a decade and paid a heavy price,' he said, promising to help the state government consolidate the 'recent gains'. 'We will further intensify our sincere efforts to advance the dialogue process,' he said on his second visit to the Valley since April this year that set the ball rolling for a fresh peace initiative. 'Our doors are open to all those who reject militancy and extreme positions and wish to play a constructive role in taking Jammu and Kashmir forward on the high road of peace and rapid development,' he said. The Prime Minister will be in the Valley till tomorrow and would leave for Jammu on 29 August. Officials said he was scheduled to meet delegations of state political leaders and others who had sought meetings with him. There has been no request from anyone in the Hurriyat Conference for a meeting with the Prime Minister, an official said, suggesting they appeared to have made their mind to meet the prime minister only if they were given a specific invitation. As things stand, the official indicated, they were not going to get one. Not till they showed signs of giving up their 'extreme positions'. Deputy Prime Minister Mr LK Advani urged states to ensure that a decision on recommendations of the Sarkaria commission were concluded at this meet to enable utilization of the forum for other issues of more recent origin. If discussions at this council are held without political and ideological prejudices with an eye to evolve national consensus. Problems faced by states in their campaign against terrorism could be one of them, he said. It was a point that the Prime Minister clearly agreed with. 'Let us bring the discussion on Sarkaria Commission's recommendations to a final and consensual conclusion at the Srinagar meeting,' he urged the meeting attended by just about a dozen-odd chief ministers, the other states represented by nominees of the chief ministers. 'All of you will perhaps agree with me that the dynamics of social, economic and political forces in India has changed significantly since the Sarkaria Commission submitted its report,' Mr Vajpayee said, pointing that the end of one party rule at the Centre has inaugurated a new process of harmonization of regional aspirations within an overarching national outlook.


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