CPI(M): Rope Dissenters Into Intra-Kashmir Dialogue Process

19 November 2008
The Hindu

Srinagar: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday called for initiating a dialogue process within the State for an amicable solution to Kashmir. It said inviting the army chiefs of the United States and Israel to Kashmir was a dangerous move. Releasing the party manifesto for the Assembly elections, CPI(M) State secretary M.Y. Tarigami said it was imperative on the part of the government of India to rope dissenters into the dialogue process, though peace with Pakistan was also an important part of the whole exercise. “Steps should be taken to initiate the dialogue with the State. In a democratic set-up, there should be no provision to gag the voice of dissent. Engaging separatists in a meaningful dialogue will undoubtedly pave the way for establishing peace in our trouble-torn State,” said the manifesto. “Our party believes that the State government, besides addressing day-to-day problems of people, has a definite role in creating a conducive atmosphere for intra-State and cross-LOC dialogue, besides a dialogue between the Centre and the people of the State. The CPI(M) will struggle for implementation of recommendations made by different Working Groups.” The party said it would work towards strengthening the State Human Rights Commission. The commission “is largely ineffective because it continues to lack any real power and authority to take action against those found guilty of human rights violations, as its role has been limited by the statute. “In addition, the commission is hindered by the fact that the security forces enjoy special powers and their actions do not come under the purview of the State government.” The CPI(M) called for general amnesty to prisoners: “We will continue to raise our voice for general amnesty for all prisoners languishing in different jails.” It also called for withdrawal of the “draconian” Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Public Safety Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which “infringed” the fundamental rights of the citizens. The disproportionate presence of security forces in the State “a major irritant to the common man. We believe that presence of security forces in the civilian areas, where the situation has markedly improved, is proving counterproductive. The CPI(M) will continue its demand for gradual reduction of security forces.” Rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, employment, strengthening of labour laws, and improvement in the education, health and agriculture sectors are other promises.