J&K Celebrates R-Day With Enthusiasm
26 January 2006
The Indian Express
Jammu: Amidst tight security in the wake of militant threats, Jammu and Kashmir today celebrated the 57th Republic Day with enthusiasm, as Governor Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha underlined the need for a political solution to the Kashmir issue giving due consideration to the aspirations of the people of all the three regions of the state. 'The solution cannot be only Kashmir-centric. It must be Jammu and Kashmir-centric, giving due consideration to the aspirations of the people of all the three regions of the state,' he told a 40,000- strong gathering at MAM stadium here. This is for the first time in last 16 years of turmoil in the state that such a huge number of people attended R-Day celebrations at the stadium. Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and his cabinet colleagues were also present to watch the colourful parade and performances by school children. The governor also said there was no harm in considering 'out of box' solutions but those must not be 'flights of fancy' unrelated to ground realities. Also there could obviously be 'no demilitarisation without de-terrorisation.' In Srinagar, in his speech after taking salute at a parade in Bakshi stadium, Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig said the ongoing Indo-Pak peace process 'is destined to succeed' as it has for the first time not only the 'public mandate but the mandate of the history as well.' 'The only elements who want the bloodshed to continue are the ones who have developed a vested interest in the violence ...Once the peace process gets consolidated, such elements would get isolated,' Baig said, asking the local militants to see 'the writing on the wall' and join the peace process. Reports of peaceful R-Day celebrations were also received from different district headquarters in both Jammu and Kashmir divisions, an official spokesman said here.