In a clear message to all sections of the people in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been hit by protests, strikes and firing over the past two months that has left scores dead and hundreds injured, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram urged them on Wednesday to heed the voices of reason and desist from violent protests.
He promised to reactivate the political process once peace and order were restored.
“Mindless violence and destruction of public property will not lead to any solution. On the contrary, they will result in loss of lives and injuries to the protesters, an outcome that is entirely avoidable and should be avoided at all costs,'' he said. .
Making identical statements in both Houses of Parliament, the Home Minister said the government deeply regretted the loss of lives in Jammu and Kashmir. “Many of them were young men and children. I convey our deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased.'' He assured Parliament that adequate forces were made available to the State government.
He said the Central government offered its full support to the State in restoring law and order, holding a dialogue, redressing genuine grievances, accelerating development programmes and ensuring equity, justice and honour for all sections of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The people of Jammu and Kashmir have elected a government and they must repose their faith in that government to find solutions to their problems. Once peace and order are restored, I am confident that we can explore the possibility of reactivating the political process that holds the key to the solutions,'' Mr. Chidambaram said.
The Minister appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to put an end to the current cycle of violence. “I have a special appeal to parents: your children's safety and welfare is our paramount consideration — as it must be yours — and I would urge you to ensure that they do not join the violent protests.”
Mr. Chidambaram endorsed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's statement affirming his commitment to taking certain political and administrative measures, while making it clear that the current cycle of violence would have to end before the State government could take the initiative in this regard.
The security forces had conducted themselves with commendable restraint in a highly volatile situation, he said. There had been 872 stone pelting incidents in June and July and 1,266 security personnel were injured in the last two months alone.