Resume peace process with Pakistan, Kashmir government to PM (Lead)

January 26th, 2009 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghSrinagar, Jan 26 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government Monday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resume the stalled peace process with Pakistan saying the reconciliation between the two countries has “direct bearing” on the people of the state.Rural Development Minister Ali Mohammed Sagar in his Republic Day speech here made a passionate appeal to the prime minister to resume the peace negotiations with Islamabad, snapped in the wake of the Nov 26 Mumbai terror attacks that India blamed on elements from Pakistan.

“The process of peace and reconciliation between India and Pakistan has a direct bearing on the lives of the people in Jammu and Kashmir,” Sagar said after unfurling the national flag and taking salute at the parade in Bakhshi Stadium.

“We appeal to the prime minister to restart the peace process between the two countries so that distances between them are narrowed down,” Sagar said.

The minister said the December assembly elections in the state had been appreciated by everybody in the world and even the militants had started talking in terms of negotiated resolution of their problems.

“This is a big change as everybody is fed up with violence. The young and dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah shall ensure that the problems of the people are addressed and justice is done to every section of the people in the state.”

The Republic Day celebrations passed off peacefully in the Kashmir Valley which saw 300-400 people turning out to witness the parade at the Bakhshi Stadium defying a boycott call from separatists.

Officials said the gathering at the Bakhshi Stadium here was unprecedented. Ever since militancy erupted in 1990, people began staying away from Republic Day and Independence Day functions.

At the stadium, school children and contingents of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and those of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police marched braving the winter chill.

Students dressed in their colourful best presented cultural programmes.

A large number of dignitaries, including National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, were present at the function.

The event was held under tight security, with equipment meant to jam electronic devices installed in a bid to prevent remote controlled explosions.

Republic Day functions in other towns of the Kashmir Valley also took place peacefully, including in Ganderbal, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Badgam, Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag.

The two factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani had called for a protest shutdown Monday.

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