The unilateral cease-fire in Jammu and Kashmir announced by the Vajpayee government in November last year might be called off when its present term expires on May 26, Minister of State for Home Affairs I D Swami told rediff.com on Wednesday.
"What is the use of having the cease-fire when it is no longer useful and militants are now sitting within striking distance of various important cities?" Swami asked.
Swami said other political parties may also be consulted. "If the government feels it is needed it might call an all-party meeting," he said.
He said the talks initiated by central interlocutor K C Pant would not be affected by the decision.
"The talks can go on with all factions interested in peace. You see, when the cease-fire was called the situation was different. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference continues to insist that they should be first allowed to go to Pakistan and only then will they talk to Pant. The militants are not willing to listen to anyone and continue to strike against innocent people. The government will have to take an overall view before taking a final decision," he added.
On Union Home Minister L K Advani and Defence Minister Jaswant Singh's trip to Srinagar, he said, "I think the government needs to take stock of the situation at the highest level. Advani and Singh will hold talks with all those who matter on the administrative side. Once they return to Delhi they will deliberate with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Thereafter, the government will take a final decision," Swami said.
He tried to downplay reports that decision was being influenced by elements from the Sangh Parivar. "They offer advice on various issues. The government need not take everything seriously," he said.
When asked to comment on the recent attack by Border Security Force personnel on
media persons in Srinagar, Swami said that if the reports were correct that DIG Mullick had ordered his men to bash up media persons, then "he is not fit to remain in the force and should be dismissed".
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