Process on right track
18 March 2006
Jammu: The initiative of releasing militants with no serious charges was taken by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during the round table conference he had with opinion leaders of all the regions of the State of Jammu and Kashmir last month. It was at the end of this conference that Prime Minister asked ministry of home affaisrs to constitute a high level committee that would review the cases of militants languishing in jails from years together. The committee has been asked to prepard a list of all such detenues against whom there were no serious charges or allegations so that they are set free.
In sync with Prime Minster's directions, union home ministry in consultation with the state's home department has initated the process of screening of the cases and as media report suggest, a list of some four dozen odd militants has been prepared who fall in 'fit for release' category. The final decision to this effect is likely to be taken on March 22 and the process of releasing such detenues may start by March end as promised by the Prime Minister in the round table conference.
The release of militants, against whom there are no serious charges, will go a long way in restoring peoples' faith in the system. Besides, it would be one more Jammu and Kashmir on Line of Control (LoC) and opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. As the peace and dialogue process between India and Pakistan inches forward with every passing day, despite hiccups, need is to make the process show its results on the ground. And it goes without saying the ground for Indo-Pak conflict has all along been the soil of Jammu and Kashmir. The people of the State have all along been on receiving end vis-a-vis Indo-Pak hostility. They are the ones who are paying a heavy price because the two neighbouring countries had decided not to see eye to eye. And today when the good senses have finally prevailed on the neighbours and they have launched a comprehensive dialogue process, the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be the first to feel the change.
It is heartening to note that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is very keen and serious about the dialogue process and has been holding talks with leaders from Jammu and Kashmir irrespective of their political ideologies or stances. The very fact that the Prime Minister has decided to hold next round table conference in the month of May in Srinagar itself is enough to convey that New Delhi wants involvement of Kashmiri leadership in decision making. While talks with Pakistan are on in full gear, dialogue within too is important to look for some solution to the vexed problem. The recently held Pugwash conferences in Pakistan's captial Islamabad too has helped putting the process on right track. That Pakistan President met mainstream politicians like Omar Abdullah in itself is a big development. It also carries a message that if a solution is to be found to the issue no group of opinion or school of thought could be wished away. There is no The Respresentative in Jammu and Kashmir. There are different individuals and groups having their own pockets of influence as for as public opinion goes and nothing can be achieved unless all of them are made partners in the process.