PM Rejects Hurriyat's Demand For Early Polls In Kashmir
8 July 2005
The Daily Excelsior
London: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today rejected Hurriyat's demand for early elections in Jammu and Kashmir but declared that the doors of the Government was always open for dialogue with any group willing to shun violence and finding a meaningful solution to the problem. 'Question of holding elections will arrise when elections are due next time,' Dr Singh said while addressing a press meet at the India House, which houses the Indian High Commission here. Asserting that free and fair polls have been held in Jammu and Kashmir, he said this have been acknowledged by competent and objective election observers. He said there have been instances in India where rebels have turned into rulers like in Mizoram and several other states. 'We are willing to engage all sections of public opinion in Jammu and Kashmir to find a meaningful solution,' he said. Ruling out any lapses on the part of security forces during the Tuesday's terror attack in Ayodhya, the PM said they had faced the challenge well. Intelligence agencies had also alerted us on the possibility of such an attack. However, he admitted the need for further strengthening the intelligence apparatus. He described terrorism as a threat to peace, freedom and human dignity and called for a 'resolute and united' fight against the scourge afflicting the civil society. 'All those who cherish freedom should join hands in the war against terrorism,' Dr Singh said and expressed his 'deep sense of shock' at the terrorist attacks in London yesterday. 'I have arrived here in the UK after dealing with the aftermath of yet another terrorist attack in India,' he said. 'It is clear that terror is a global threat. Terror anywhere is a threat to peace, freedom, human dignity and civil society,' Dr Singh said, expressing the confidence that Britain would emerge stronger from the crisis. Earlier, describing terrorism as 'an act of cowardice,' Dr Singh sought joint efforts by countries who believe in democracy to fight the menace resolutely. 'All those who believe in democracy and the rule of law should join hands to fight the scourge resolutely and unitedly,' he said, deviating from his prepared speech at the Oxford University where he was presented with an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law. Terrorism is an act of cowardice and spreads hatred, he said, a day after London was hit by a series of explosions that killed over 50 people and injured 700. Expressing sympathy and solidarity of the people of India with the people of Britain, Singh said 'I arrived in the UK in the aftermath of a terror attack in India,' a reference to the Ayodhya incident. 'Terrorism is a global threat and terrorism anywhere in the world is a threat to peace and human dignity and we should join hands to fight it unitedly,' the Prime Minister said. Earlier, Dr Singh, who found tacit support from US and Britain on the need to eliminate farm subsidies, had a meeting with French President Jacque Chirac at a time when France is dragging its feet on the issue in the WTO at Gleneagles in Scotland. Singh, who was in Scotland to participate in the G8 outreach meeting with the G-5 developing countries comprising India, Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa, had an half-an-hour meeting with Chirac. The details were not immediately known. Singh also had a meeting with G-4 countries comprising India, Japan, Brazil and Germany which are pressing for reform of the world body and expansion of the UNSC. Singh's meeting with Chirac was crucial as it comes at a time when there is increasing pressure on France to eliminate export subsidies. France has considerable influence on EU, which has said developing countries could not expect much on agriculture without a trade off on industrial tariffs in the WTO negotiations. His meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, however, was cancelled as he had rush to London in the aftermath of the terror blasts.