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Prime Minister Singh Proposes 5 Working Groups PDF Print
Written by Govt. of India   
Thursday, 25 May 2006 00:00

One issue two dimensions
Dr Singh asserted that the problems of Jammu and Kashmir could be addressed two dimensions namely Delhi-Srinagar and Delhi-Islamabad. About the former dimension Prime Minister floated the idea of working groups and regarding the latter one he said, “We are awaiting Pakistan’s response on some concrete suggestions which we have made.”
Reiterating his long held stand of a cooperative and consultative mechanism between India and Pakistan, Dr Singh said, “Our two countries must therefore devise effective cooperative strategies to give concrete shape and meaning to this shared vision.” He further asserted that India was committed to the prosperity, unity, development and well being of Pakistan. “We want all the people of South Asia to live a life of dignity and self-respect. When our neighbors live in peace, we live in peace.”

Hurriyat participation in future
Dr Singh recalled that his “Hurriyat friends” had left him with the impression that they would contribute positively in taking the dialogue process forward. To a question about Hurriyat’s participation in the next sitting he said, “I am not an astrologer but I hope they will.” Meanwhile, informed sources said that Union Minister for Water Resources who also attended the conference made a strong plea for the involvement of Hurriyat Conference in the dialogue process. “We cannot ignore Hurriyat because it represents an important section of public opinion.”

Autonomy and Self-rule
Prime Minister had steered clear of the specific references in his concluding speech to the roundtable meet yet the carefully worded remark about devolution of powers among different regions to meet “regional, sub-regional and ethnic aspirations” was seen as a soft gesture toward National Conference. Pertinently, the fifth working group has been authorized to prepare a report about J&K’s special status within the Indian Union. The report according to the Prime Minister is supposed to be submitted in the next roundtable.

Demilitarization, amnesty for militants
Dr Singh asserted that as long as the basic cause of troops presense remained present armed forces could not be removed. “They are not occupation forces. They are here to protect the life of our own people” About the possibility of inviting militant groups for talks the Prime Minister said that he was ready to talk to anyone who shunned the path of violence.
Dr Singh further said that his government was ready to announce amnesty for the youth who had crossed over to Muzaffarabad for training but the criterion for the amnesty would be set by the armed forces from J&K.

Heading The Working Groups

Group 1: Confidence building measures across segments of society in the state. The group will evolve:
· Measures to improve the condition of people
affected by militancy.
· Schemes to rehabilitate all orphans and widows
affected by militancy.
· Issues relating to the relaxation of conditions
for persons who have foresworn militancy.
· An effective rehabilitation policy, including
employment for Kashmiri Pandit migrants.
· An approach considering issues relating to
return of Kashmiri youth from areas controlled by Pakistan.
· Measures to protect and preserve the unique
cultural and religious heritage of the state.

Group 2: Strengthening relations across the LoC. To recommend measures to:
· Simplify procedures to facilitate travel across
the Line of Control.
· Increase goods traffic.
· Expand people-to-people contact, including
promotion of pilgrimage and group tourism.
· Open up new routes such as Kargil-Skardu etc.

Group 3: Economic Development. To evolve a strategy that ensures:
· Balanced economic development and
employment generation.
· Balanced regional and sub regional
development within state.

Group 4: Ensuring Good Governance. To consider effective measures to:
· Increase responsiveness, accountability and
transparency of the administration.
· Strengthen local self-governance.
· Effectively monitor development programs.
· Institute zero tolerance for human rights
· Strengthen the right to information.
· Provide adequate security to all segments of society,
particularly the minority communities.

Group 5: Strengthening relations between the state and the center. To deliberate on:
· Matters relating to the special status of Jammu and
Kashmir within the Indian Union.
· Methods of strengthening democracy, secularism and
the rule of law in the state.
This group will also deliberate on effective devolution of powers among different regions to meet regional, sub-regional and ethnic aspirations. The groups may co –opt experts if they so desire. The state government will extend logistic support.

The mechanism
“If there is a general agreement regarding the Working Groups and the subjects they would cover, may I also suggest that we consider appointing suitable convenor for each of the Working Groups. The choice of the convenor could be yours or if you like I could request the Chief Minister to finalize the choice.
The composition of the Working Groups could be decided in consultation with all of you though this may take some time.
My earnest appeal to you is to see this opportunity for you as people’s representatives to make a material contribution to the problems that we have been discussing for many decades now and arrive at an understanding and a consensus on what needs to be done. I am not minimizing the difficulties that lie ahead but I think it would be a good beginning and a substantive contribution of this roundtable conference. Once the Working Groups have completed their task, we could discuss their recommendations in an another roundtable conference.”

Last Updated on Friday, 10 September 2010 20:20


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