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'No delay in PM's J&K visit'
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | November 10, 2004 10:37 IST
Last Updated: November 10, 2004 11:32 IST
The Union home ministry has expressed surprise over the media reports that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's proposed visit to Jammu and Kashmir has been postponed.
Dr Singh is scheduled to visit the state on November 17th and 18th.
Speaking to rediff.com from his residence in Kanpur, Sri Prakash Jaiswal, Minister of State for Home Affairs, said that he was not aware of any such postponement.
"I reached Kanpur only last night and I have no idea about the postponement of Dr Singh's visit to Kashmir," he said.
A leading national daily carried a front page report saying that the PM's visit to Kashmir had been postponed. It quoted Union home minister Shivraj Patil's written statement circulated among reporters in Kashmir on November 7, in which he had blamed Pakistan for pressuring All Party Hurriyat Conference for refusing to talk to the government of India.
The report also said that Patil's statement has not only raised the political temperature in the Kashmir valley but also undone the ground work done by Wajahat Habibullah, secretary in the textile ministry, and A S Dulat, former Research and Analysis Wing chief.
"I do not think that the home minister's visit to Kashmir could be the reason for 'postponement' of the planned visit, if the report is true. Shivraj Patil had a successful three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir," Jaiswal claimed.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the state chief minister, has indicated that the trip may take place around November 24 and 25.Dr Singh has postponed his visit to Kashmir twice already. And if the visit is postponed again till after the Pakistan prime minister's scheduled trip to Delhi on November 23, it will be the third postponement.
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