New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached no conclusion in particular on the issue of a package for Jammu and Kashmir hit by a fresh bout of violence since Eid last Saturday.
Union Home Secretary reportedly issued a statement after the 3-hours long meeting which expressed the Cabinet’s distress at the situation in Kashmir, where violence has erupted after a TV channel showed images of alleged burning of the Quran.
The statement called upon the people of J&K to embrace peace and promised action soon after an all party meet was held in Delhi on September 15. The meeting is likely to discuss the issue of diluting Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA).
The Cabinet also called upon the youth of the state to help maintain peace.
The pros and cons of a phased withdrawal of AFSPA from some areas in the border state as part of the package were deliberated at the crucial meeting.
The meet came hours after the PM's address to top commanders in Delhi where he expressed empathy towards the people of Kashmir.
"Unrest in the state of Jammu and Kashmir over the last few weeks is a matter of concern. The youth of Kashmir are our citizens and their grievances have to be addressed," he told top commanders of the armed forces at a conference here.
"We are willing to talk to every person or group which abjures violence, within the framework of our Constitution," he said.
The meeting reviewed the present situation in the Valley where four more people were killed today in the surge in violence. The toll in the three-month unrest in the Valley has risen to 75.
Hours before the crucial CCS meeting, J and K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had separate meetings with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during which a political package for the state figured during the deliberations. He himself headed an emergency meeting of the state cabinet in the evening and called upon the people to maintain peace.
Later, the state DGP Kuldeep Khuda played out a tape before the media which allegedly showed a close aide of hardliner Hurriyat leader Geelani instigating the mobs to attack security personnel.
The Chief Minister had also met other Union Ministers yesterday including Health Minister and Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad whose support was sought for a political package to the state.
The proposal being deliberated upon to restore peace in the Kashmir valley was withdrawal of AFSPA from six districts--three each in Kashmir and Jammu regions -- besides a special compensation package for those killed and injured in the violence in the recent weeks.
The Defence Ministry, which has been opposing any moves to withdraw AFSPA, indicated at one of the meetings recently that Army should never be called for any assistance in those areas where the Act was repealed.
Besides AFSPA, Omar has also urged the Government to kick start a political dialogue with the separatists at the earliest. CCS also discussed measures to incorporate certain provisions in AFSPA to make it more "humane".
Besides resumption of dialogue with all shades of opinion and a review of laws, Omar's strategy envisages measures to deal with unemployment with six lakh jobless youth, a comprehensive package for people who have suffered during the present unrest and former militants who served their sentence and were without jobs, sources said.
Among other issues discussed at the CCS meeting were the relocation of security forces and a fresh surrender policy.
First Published: Monday, September 13, 2010, 23:46