PM to go ahead with Srinagar visit
21 May 2006
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would go ahead with his two-day visit to Srinagar from Wednesday for the second roundtable meeting on Kashmir despite today's attack by militants on a Congress rally there. 'The Prime Minister is looking forward to visiting Srinagar and participating in the second round table meeting on Jammu and Kashmir scheduled for 24th and 25th May', Sanjaya Baru, Media Advisor to the Prime Minister, said. Condemning the attack, the Prime Minister said such 'cowardly' attacks will not weaken the resolve of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to seek a peaceful resolution to the problem of the State, a statement issued by Baru said. Singh said it is only through a dialogue that a lasting solution to the problem can be found, Baru said. The Prime Minister conveyed his deep sympathies to the families of those killed in the attack. Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said today's attack by militants in Srinagar cannot derail the ongoing peace process initiated by the Centre in Jammu and Kashmir. 'We condemn such attacks with full force. Such incidents cannot stop the peace efforts. The Prime Minister has said that the roundtable conference will take place (on May 24 and 25) in Srinagar. We all are going,' Patil told reporters here. The Government would not be cowed down by such terrorist attacks, he said, adding such incidents only generated hatred in the minds of people against perpetrators of such violence. Asked what his message would be to Pakistan, the Home Minister evaded a direct answer and said 'we cannot appreciate such incidents and we can only condemn it.' The Home Minister assured all possible help to the kin of those killed and to those injured in the attack. He said the Government has already sent two doctors to Srinagar and offered all possible assistance to the injured. Earlier, Patil in a statement said the attack was an attempt to detail the ongoing peace process in the State and such incidents 'will not deter the Government from pursuing the goal of lasting peace and progress in J&K'. Describing the terrorist attack as 'dastardly', Union Home Secretary V K Duggal said the round table conference in Srinagar to be attended by the Prime Minister will take place 'as scheduled'. 'There will be no change in the schedule of the conference and it will go on,' Duggal said. He said that two terror outfits, including Al-Mansooriyan, has claimed responsibility for the terror strike. 'These kind of attacks are a normal ploy of terrorists before any major conference or peace initiative,' Duggal said voicing confidence about the success of the round table conference. Official sources said that during the two-day Indo-Pak Home Secretary level talks in Islamabad from May 30, India will convey to Pakistan that it must honour its commitments not to provide support and training of terrorists in that country or territories under its control. Duggal will be leading the Indian delegation at the talks.