'Dialogue Not Force Is The Key'

'Dialogue Not Force Is The Key'

29 August 2010
Rising Kashmir
Ishfaq Mir

Srinagar: Special Secretary (Internal Security) Ministry of Home Affairs U K Bansal, who is currently in the Valley, Sunday said dialogue and not force is the only solution to Kashmir issue. Bansal, who had an hour long meeting with mediapersons, however denied that he is making a security assessment in Valley. Earlier he met Governor N N Vohra also. “I am not here to make any assessment but to gather information, talk to people and carry back my impressions in the form of a report. I would be glad to get the valuable feedback from people, especially media, so that I use it in the assessment report,' he said. Replying to queries, Bansal, a senior Home Ministry official, said dialogue is the only way to resolve all the issues. “The sooner an intense dialogue is initiated, the better it is. There have been instances all over the world which have strengthened the belief that dialogue is the only way to resolve problems,” he said. However, he made it clear he has not come to Kashmir to do spadework for initiation of a dialogue with separatists. Bansal, who arrived in Srinagar on Saturday to assess the security situation in Valley, further said, “It is certain that separatists and protesters have to come to the table for talks to resolve the issue. One cannot embark on a journey without a vehicle, and dialogue is the vehicle for the solution.” However, he did not agree with mediapersons that New Delhi is delaying the dialogue. “There is no reality in making statements that the Centre is delaying the talks but there are some other factors responsible for delay. These factors are coming in the way of initiation of a meaningful dialogue,” he said. Asked why New Delhi did not wake up for dialogue till over 60 people in Kashmir lost their lives, he said, “It is never late to start...(dialogue).” Denying having any meeting with any of the separatist leaders in Kashmir, Bansal said he met some Sikh leaders in the Valley. “I have not come here to initiate dialogue with separatists or to do the spadework in this regard. But I did meet some Sikh leaders and officials involved in the law and order situation.” Asked to give his assessment of the situation in Kashmir, Bansal said, “I am poorly equipped and it is too early to make any assessment, not even a short-term one. I have not come here to make any assessment or statement. I have come here to educate myself about the situation and report back.” When asked to react on the excesses CRPF troops have been committing on the protesters, he said, “My purpose of visit is very different. These are issues on which the state government will respond, but I should say CRPF works as per the State Government’s directions.” To a question relating to revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, he said, “It is a decision to be taken by the Centre.”


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