Governor Favours Re-opening Of Kargil-Skardu Road
26 January 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Underlining the need for reopening of Kargil-Skardu road as the meeting point for Indo-Pak divided families, Governor Lt Gen (Retd) S K Sinha today said a new era of goodwill and friendship would be established between two countries as 'strong winds of peace are sweeping our sub-continent'. 'Strong winds are sweeping our sub- continent and there is a desire for strong peace between India and Pakistan. I hope that an era of goodwill and friendship would be established between the two countries,' the Governor said at Republic Day parade here. India and Pakistan want to bury 'legacy of bitterness and strife,' he said, adding there has been steady progress in the dialogue between the two countries and peace has been steadily gaining strength within State. The efforts were being made to reopen Jammu-Sialkot road and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, he said, adding instead of five border meeting points proposed for the divided families on both sides of the border the Kargil-Skardu road should be added to the list. By these measures and peace processes, the State would 'soon emerge from dark tunnel' in which we were stuck so long, he added. 'I feel overpowered by a burning desire to be the first Khidmatgar to wipe every tear and bring about peace and prosperity for all the people of our State,' he added. Extending greetings to the people on 56th Republic Day, the Governor said despite handicaps on account of militancy, the situation has improved and the State was making all round progress in different areas. Sinha said the State continues to be mired in the 'dark tunnel of violence', with 39,000 lives having been lost in the past 15 years, comprising 15,000 civilians, 4,500 security forces and 18,500 militants. 'Our people in the State have been the target of the terrorists who are on a killing spree of innocent men, helpless women and young children'. 'These so called Jihadis in the name of liberating the people have been perpetrating the most brutal and barbaric acts against them,' he said. Notwithstanding such inhuman acts, a steady progress has been achieved towards crushing the 'demon of terrorism', even though occasional incidents of high profile violence, may convey a misleading picture, he added. Gen. Sinha said 24 per cent reduction has been recorded in the incidents of violence last year and killings have also come down to 1810 in 2004 from 2542 in 2003. Security forces succeeded in eliminating over 50 top ultras, he added. Commending the retiring Army chief Gen. N C Vij, a native of the State, for his 'brilliant conception and dynamic execution' of the 750-kilometre border fencing project, he described it as the 'great success story' of 2004 and said this will bring about peace and security in the State. 'I would like to call this defence line the Vij line', he said, adding it has already yielded most promising results. Infiltration in 2004 was down by two thirds from the figure of 2003, even when for more than half the year, the fencing was not complete. Earlier, General Sinha hoisted the tricolour at an impressive march past presented by the smartly attired contingents of the Army, BSF, CRPF, J&K Armed Police (Gents), J&K Armed Police (Ladies), J&K Police, J&K Auxiliary Police, J&K Fire Services, Ex-Servicemen from J&K, NCC, J&K Sports Council and 19 contingents of various boys and girls schools of Jammu. Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed, Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma and number of legislators and Ministers were present on the occasion. A special contingent, introduced as the Governor's special guests, comprising the boys and girls of remote areas of Kashmir valley, Doda, Rajouri and Poonch also participated in the parade. They were carrying tricolours and waving these during the march past. Col K S Rao, CO 19 Dogra commanded the parade while Thakur Dass Saini, SP 7th Bn JKAP was second in command. The Bands of the Police, BSF and schoold children also participated in the march past. A scintillating cultural programme was presented on the occasion and the police motor cyclists presented a dare-devils show that enthralled the audience. Lady Governor, Mrs Premini Sinha, Begum Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, senior leaders of various political parties and social organisations were also present at the main function.