Centre to cooperate with J&K Govt on terror: Advani
12 November 2002
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: Observing that no decision should be taken that weakens the country and the resolve to fight cross-border terrorism, Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani on Tuesday said the new PDP-led government in Jammu and Kashmir could appoint a duly-empowered committee to screen cases before releasing detained persons. Asked if the Centre had any concerns about the release of some prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir, Advani said, ''Basically, I am more concerned that the state government and the central government fully cooperate in dealing with cross-border terrorism which is a serious problem''. He indicated that the mission of BJP leader Arun Jaitley on greater devolution of powers would continue. Advani assured the new government that the Centre would cooperate with the state in fighting cross-border terrorism and development of the state. ''If there are any charges against a person which the state government feels are not valid, it can be screened by a committee, duly empowered and qualified to decide on that issue,'' the Deputy Prime Minister said replying to question on the release of JKLF leader Yasin Malik and others by the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government. Asked whether the Centre would consider fresh ceasefire initiative, he said, ''It is the state government which has been thinking of something. Even the former Chief Minister (Farooq Abdullah) had done certain things in consultation with the Centre''. On possibilities of Centre taking other initiatives on Kashmir, Advani said that government was in favour of devolution of greater powers to the states. ''That process has been started in the last five years and most of the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission have been implemented. ''We would like to go beyond that in states like J&K and Nagaland, where a dialogue is already on,'' he said. Asked whether the government would hold dialogue with militants in Kashmir, Advani said, ''In so far as those who have taken to arms, the Centre would hold talks if they lay down arms and come to the negotiating table for discussion on their grievances, we will talk''. On the Jaitley mission, he said that had begun before the elections and ''it will continue''. Asked what would be his public message to Sayeed, the Deputy Prime Minister said the government was of the opinion that whichever government came there, Centre would fully cooperate with it. ''The cooperation will be in two matters - dealing with cross-border terrorism and development of the state,'' he said. To a question whether cross border infiltration has come down in the recent past, Advani said, ''No, there is nothing to suggest that''.