Gun Culture Has Spoilt J&K, Says Peerzada
24 August 2004
The Times of India
Srinagar: Newly appointed chief of Pradesh Congress Committee Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed today appealed the militants to drop gun and join the process of dialogue. He also pledged support to the policies of the ruling coalition government here. Peerzada today arrived in the city to a rousing reception here with thousands of people turning up here to accord him welcome. He was earlier in New Delhi where he participated in a meet of All India Congress Committee. Referring to violence, the PCC chief said, the gun culture has ruined the state. 'There has been a lot of bloodshed. Thousands of people were killed, thousands of women widowed and thousands of children orphaned. I appeal the militants to drop gun and join the road to peace and dialogue', he said. Peerzada also demanded opening of Muzaffarabad and Sialkot road and said people on both the sides should be allowed to meet each other. The PCC chief pledged support to the policies of the coalition government. 'We have to take these policies forward which were worked out by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. We have to get the state rid of poverty and unemployment', he said. Earlier, deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma said the Congress would soon emerge as the single largest party in the state assembly. 'Six MLAs have already joined us which his taken our strength to 26. At least three more members are joining us', he said. Sharma also targetted the National Conference for its role in the legislature during last few days. He said the party is frustrated after PDP and Congress jointly retained (Abdul Rasheed) Dar sahib (chairman legislative council) as the chairman. Earlier, other senior Congress leaders also addressed the gatherings with some of them targetting the PDP and others warning the elements within the Congress to behave. Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution minister Taj Mohiuddin warned the elements within Congress for opposing the appointment of Peerzada. 'Some people are making noises that Ghulam Nabi Azad should come back. They must know it is the decision of Ms Gandhi to appoint Peerzada sahib', he said. Taj said no indiscipline will be tolerated in the party. Those who trigger infighting should be dealt with even if they are friends. If they want to remain in Congress they have to accept Sonia Ji 's decision', he said. The minister also urged the workers to strengthen party so that 'Congress will form a government of its own during new elections'. Works minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir hailed the decision to appoint Peerzada and he urged him to follow the footsteps of his predecessor. He said his priority should be Congress workers. Other senior Congress leader Muzaffar Parrey targetted its coalition partner, PDP and said the Congress men should be given a due share. 'We want our leaders to take up these issues otherwise we will raise our voice against them', he said.