May 2004 News

New Indian cabinet condemns Kashmir attack

23 May 2004
The Hindustan Times
Agence France-Presse

New Delhi: The first meeting of new Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet on Sunday condemned an attack by Islamic militants in Kashmir that killed 28 soldiers and their families, a senior minister said. 'We passed a resolution condemning the attack,' cabinet minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters, a day after Singh was sworn in. Kashmir's largest Islamic rebel group Hizbul Mujahedin has claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday on a military bus, saying it was in retaliation for the killings of top guerrilla commanders. Cabinet member Pranab Mukherjee, who is tipped to head the home ministry which controls key security forces, said the new leadership would maintain dialogue with separatists opened by the defeated Hindu nationalist-led government. 'We would like to, on the one hand, strengthen security forces and, on the other hand, we would like to carry on the political dialogue which is necessary to ease tension,' Mukherjee said before the cabinet meeting. Sixty-seven ministers were sworn in with Singh on Saturday but their portfolios were not immediately announced.


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