'Probe Kashmir Civilian Killings'12 July 2010
Times of India
Srinagar: In an attempt to display bipartisan commitment to bring peace to the Valley, leaders of main political parties barring the opposition PDP on Monday urged Omar Abdullah's government to hold an independent inquiry into the killings of civilians in security forces' firing that triggered a fresh wave of anger that had to be quelled by calling out the Army. The Army's help was sought to enforce a strict curfew last week, as the situation seemed to be spinning out of control after the killing of 14 civilians, including a 9-year-old boy and 25-year-old woman, in security forces firing. The representatives, who met in Srinagar to discuss the situation, also resolved to constitute two teams to approach the Centre for giving an impetus to a dialogue process besides lobbying for an employment package for the state's unemployed youth. 'They would approach the PM to resume an internal dialogue and carry forward the peace process, besides asking the UPA government to implement the recommendations of his working groups,' a source said. The source said the delegation would lay emphasis on the need to open dialogue with various shades of political opinions. Sources said another committee would look into the causes of recent civilians killings. Besides ruling National Conference-Congress alliance, BJP, CPM and some independent members in the state legislature attended the meeting. Jammu-based Panther's Party also boycotted the meet. 'The all-party meeting urged the state government to have an independent inquiry conducted to ascertain the circumstances leading to the killings,' said Abdullah after the meeting that lasted for over four-hours. He said the leaders expressed anguish at the loss of lives and sought compensation for the families of the deceased. 'They also made an appeal to the people to help the state government in the restoration of peace,' he said. The PDP remained adamant on its stand of boycotting the meet even after PM Manmohan Singh intervened and urged its leader Mehbooba Mufti to attend it. Sources said Abdullah apprised the participants about the steps his government had taken to contain the unrest, as some of the leaders expressed their displeasure over the manner in which the situation was handled. 'The ruling National Conference and Congress members by and large backed Abdullah,' said a source.