Center should take initiative, declare ceasefire
7 October 2000
The Asian Age
Srinagar: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has asked the Centre to declare a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. They feel that the move will create an atmosphere of goodwill. “Why should New Delhi wait for a ceasefire offer to come from the other side, why does not it declare the cessation of hostilities itself as that will be seen by the people of the state the real sufferers in the conflict as a positive move towards achieving peace,” Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami, state secretary of the CPI (M) said at a press conference here on Saturday. He said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir wanted peace with dignity and that the Centre had a responsibility towards their needs and aspirations. Mr Tarigami said that the central focus of democratic forces in the country should be the Kashmiri people and their sufferings, he said. A strong voice needed to be raised by these democratic forces in order to put an end to human tragedies, he said. He asked all well-meaning and democratic forces to join together to demand that Centre declare a unilateral ceasefire. Mr Tarigami said that Kashmir was a core issue which needed to be resolved amicably. “There can be difference of opinion but everybody realises that this is a political problem which needs to be resolved politically, which has become imperative as the issue has transformed into a big human tragedy over the years,” he said. The CPI (M) leader who is also the lone member of the state Assembly said that the survival of the people of the state was at stake and one must realise that victims of violence, whether a militant, a security force personnel or an innocent civilian, were human beings first. “Violence has adversely affected the whole of our society, our ethos and our day to day life. Without apportioning blame or taking postures, the point that stares us in the face is that the ultimate sufferers in this complex situation, are the hapless people of this unfortunate state,” he said. Emphasising the positive impact of the 16-day ceasefire declared by the Hizbul, the CPI (M) leader said that the people of the state had heaved a sign of relief. Asked if he has spoken to other mainstream political parties on the suggestion that the Centre should declare a unilateral cease-fire in the state, Mr Tarigami said that he had set the ball rolling. “There is a concern among the democratic set up of the country about the situation prevailing in the state but they have yet to come out decisively. I have given them a way-out,” he said. The CPI (M) leader said that he was confident about all militant organisations reciprocating the ceasefire move. His appeal to others was that the gun “sufficiently projected” the issue of Kashmiri and now a time had come “to tackle the political issue politically.” And since the government of India was a “major actor” in the situation, the bold initiative had to come from it, he added.