Strike calls lead to problems: Governor16 May 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Emphasizing the need of peace for overall progress and prosperity of the State, Governor NN Vohra here today said that the State Government is committed to provide peaceful environment to the people living in the State. Inaugurating two day peace conference, the Governor said that situation can be improved only when there are no militant activities as well as no infiltration bid. 'It is our sincere hope that the Interlocutors appointed by Central Government would expedite process of involving various groups in finding a solution to the problems being confronted by the people of the State. I hope they would involve all groups in the dialogue process so that some solution is worked out,' Mr Vohra said. He added that repeated strike calls lead to numerous problems for the common masses adding that such extreme steps are required to be avoided. 'Over the past three years, Kashmir has been a witness to the turbulent situation and it is duty of all to ensure that such things are not repeated this time. The educational system gets disturbed and the students suffer on account of their education. As such it should be our endeavour that students don't suffer during this year as well,' the Governor said. Mr Vohra criticized the separatists for their Panchayat poll boycott call saying that the huge voter turn out during the phases of elections held so far has given a befitting reply to the separatist leaders. He added that people overwhelmingly took part in 2008 Assembly elections and 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The Governor expressed satisfaction over the decline in militant activities and violent incidents in the recent past saying that this process is closely linked with number of militants entering into the State from across the border. He said that due to vigil of security forces, the militants waiting to sneak in, have received a setback. Sharing his views on the occasion, chief Interlocutor Dileep Padgaonkar said that he along with his two colleagues have got an access to diverse opinion of people during their visits to the state. He said that report to be submitted to Home Ministry by them would reflect the aspirations as well as sentiments of people. 'Ideally we would have liked to get views of the separatist leaders, but in case they remain away which they have done so far we would not stop working. We would present the report and the same would be based on opinions as well as views of people whom we have met during our visits to the State,' Mr Padgaonkar said. He added that they have respect for the opinions given by people and it helped them in formulation of a draft report. He said invitation was given to all including the separatists but asserted that they cannot force anybody to meet them. He said that limits of courtesy were extended by the Interlocutors while reaching out to people belonging to various shades of opinion including the separatists. The chief Interlocutor said that they met 500 groups and delegations during their visits to the State so far including leaders of mainstream parties and separatist sympathizers. He expressed the hope that the ice will be broken and they would be able to meet separatist leaders including Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Referring to suspension of Itihaad-ul-Muslimeen (IuM) from Hurriyat Conference, Padgaonkar said that the same is an internal matter of Hurriyat and he would not like to delve deep into this matter. It would be in place to mention here that IuM was suspended from Hurriyat Conference after its patron Maulana Abbas Ansari met the Interlocutors at his residence on April 20 during the previous visit of Interlocutors to the State. The peace conference has been organized by Jammu & Kashmir Peace Foundation (JKPF) and it is being attended by people belonging to various shades of life. 'We have met all kinds of people including those who have been displaced, so-called stone-pelters and the young,' Padgaonkar said. There is a view that pluralism should be upheld in the State as an example for rest of the country, he said. 'There is a belief the State should not be divided, trifurcated or bifurcated because it is one unit where all religions and all languages can blossom,' he said. There is also a need to take urgent measures to address issues agitating minds of the people, Padgaonkar said. 'Some issues are related to governance and some to confidence-building but none of these can take attention away from the main point which is political,' he said. No settlement can be arrived without the consensus of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Padgaonkar said. The conference was attended among other by Governor N N Vohra, Arab League Ambassador to India Ahmed Salem al Wahishi and representatives of mainstream political parties. Radha Kumar and M M Ansari, two other Interlocutors, also attended the conference. Terming the on-going Panchayat elections as an 'extraordinary feat', Padgaonkar said 'people have reposed their faith in democracy.' Dr. Ahmad Saleem Al-Wahishi, Ambassador of Arab League, in his address said that Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places and among the choicest tourist destinations in the world. He observed that in this age of globalization, peace, tranquility and brotherhood have acquired an added significance. Shahid Sidiqui, former MP and journalist, said that this Peace Conference is an important effort towards securing the goal of sustained peace and tranquility in the State. He said that all religions propagate the message of peace and harmony, adding that conciliation and dialogue are the best and rather the only way out to resolve all issues amicably by sitting across the table. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, chairman, J&K Peace Foundation dwelt on the aims and objects of organizing the Conference, the details of the participants, the activities of the Foundation and its future roadmap. He thanked the Governor for taking keen interest in the activities of the Foundation aimed at restoration of lasting peace, harmony, amity and brotherhood in the State. An all religion prayer was held on the occasion which was followed by a 2-minute silence to pay homage to those who had lost their lives during the past over two decades of turmoil in the State. Abdul Ahad Wahid, Didi Sudershana and Rev. Father Khanna also expressed their views and prayed for peace.