July 2006 News

J&K Names Working Group Heads

2 July 2006
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: Setting in motion the Kashmir peace roadmap, the Jammu and Kashmir government has announced the names of eminent personalities to head four of the five working groups proposed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May. Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court A.M. Ahmadi, former RBI Governor C. Rangarajan, former foreign secretary M.K. Rasgotra and former Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities Mohammad Hamid Ansari have agreed to head four of the five working groups, a government spokesman said on Sunday. Ahmadi will head the group looking into the special status to Jammu and Kashmir within the Indian Union. It would also discuss methods to strengthen democracy, secularism and the rule of law in the state, he said. While Rangarajan will chair the group deliberating on economic development, employment generation and balanced regional and sub-regional development in the state, Rasgotra would head one that would rec ommend measures to simplify procedures for travel across the Line of Control, increase goods traffic and expand people- to-people contact, including promotion of pilgrimage and group tourism. Ansari's group would deliberate upon measures to improve condition of those affected by militancy and schemes to rehabilitate orphans and widows, he said. The Prime Minister had announced the formation of the five working groups at the end of the second roundtable con ference here on May 25. Last month, CM Ghulam Nabi Azad held discussions with the PDP, CPI(M) and the NC on the working groups. Although he did not meet separatist leaders, Azad said he would welcome representatives of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference in the working groups if they send one, the spokesman said. However, the Mirwaiz Umer Farooq-led Hurriyat not only stayed away from the roundtable, but also rejected Azad's offer saying the Kashmir issue could not be resolved by form ing working groups.


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