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Govt to reach out to Kashmir protestors, says Chidambaram

August 25, 2010 12:54 IST

The government said it is hopeful of finding a "starting point" in the next few days to reach out to protestors in the Kashmir Valley and resume the dialogue process for a solution. Addressing the two-day conference of chief of police forces, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the central government has acknowledged that a political solution must be found to the problems of J&K.

"The central government has offered a dialogue with all sections of the people of J&K and all political parties and groups," he said. The Home Minister said the central government was concerned that state and central governments have not been able to stop the vicious cycle of stone-pelting, lathicharge, teargassing and firing, leading to casualties, and resulting in more stone-pelting in which the state has been caught.

Chidambaram said the security forces have been instructed to act with great restraint. "The situation has not yet returned to normal," he said. "However, it is my hope that, in the next few days, we would be able to find that elusive 'starting point' from where we could reach out to the protestors, reassure them of their rights and dignity, restore peace and order, redeem the promises made, and re-start the process of dialogue that will lead to a solution," he said.

Chidambaram said beginning 2005, and with the exception of 2008, the law and order situation in the state has been extremely benign, with few incidents and fewer casualties. "Unfortunately, since June this year, there has been an unexpected turn of events... The situation has not yet returned to normal," he said.

The home minister said amidst serious disturbances, 4.57 lakh yatris completed the Amarnath Yatra, exceeding the number of 3.92 lakh yatris last year. "So far, 516,970 tourists have visited Jammu and Kashmir, and that number also exceeds the 355,960 tourists of last year," he said.

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