April 2006 News

Trade across LoC will start soon, says Union Home Secretary

18 April 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Maintaining that there was no let-up in cross border terrorism, Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal on Tuesday asserted that the government was determined to face the challenge. He also said the trade across the Line of Control would start as soon as possible. After chairing a high level meeting here, Mr. Duggal said 'It is a matter of concern that in spite of all the confidence building measures and assurances about stopping terrorism across the border the [training] camps are flourishing.' The Union Secretary had a dig at Pakistan's proposal of demilitarisation and said 'If one is talking about demilitarisation, surely one can sit across the table and start negotiations but the prerequisite is that cross border terrorism has to end. Give us the evidence it is finished.' 'And I tell you we have strong, solid, absolutely fail proof and fool-proof evidence that it is still flourishing. So the [Pakistan's] role is obvious.' Violence level down Mr. Duggal, however, said that the violence level in 2005 had gone down. 'The level is much lower both in respect of casualties and the number of incidents of violence than in 2004 and in this quarter also the level of incidents is down with 489 last year and 374 this year. We have neutralised a sizeable number of militants as well.' He said that he had reviewed security arrangements for April 24 by-elections in four Assembly segments, the upcoming Amarnath yatra, annual darbar move of government offices from Jammu and the tourist season Valley must be peaceful 'We are determined that the valley must stay peaceful as Srinagar is the nerve centre and anything happening here we have the pressure for that.' Mr. Duggal said in principle it has been decided to throw the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road open for the trade as well. 'Road surface has to be viable and dependable and a good scanning system has to be put in place and our effort is to start it as soon as possible.' Meets Azad Later, Mr. Duggal flew to Jammu and held a meeting with Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and other top officials to review the rehabilitation programme for earthquake victims.


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