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Paswan backs autonomy for Kashmir

September 23, 2010 16:40 IST

LJP supremo Ramvilas Paswan on Thursday said he favoured autonomy for Kashmir and withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the region.

"There is no doubt that Kashmir is an integral part of India, but if it is possible within the frameworks of the Constitution, Jammu and Kashmir should be given autonomy," Paswan, who was a member of the all-party delegation to the state, told reporters.

Paswan, who met hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKLF leader Yasin Malik on September 20 and September 21, also demanded that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be withdrawn.

Steps should be taken for holding talks with leaders within the constitutional framework, he said.

"Separatist leaders should be taken into confidence and invited for talks unconditionally and those jailed during the period should be released unconditionally," Paswan said.

He urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to concede the recommendations of the all-party delegates and try to implement programmes for the people there in a time-bound manner.

Claiming that the 110 killed during the unrest since June in the valley were 'innocent civilians', he called for a high-level probe into the killing of youths and children in a series of firings since June 11.

He also demanded that the government should pay compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the bereaved families and provide a government job to an eligible member from each family.

Stating that curfew should not continue for days, he said "people have a common complaint about being harassed and insulted by security personnel who have their bunkers at several places."

He suggested that educational institutions, medicine shops and essential services be kept out of the purview of curfew.

Immediate steps, he said, should be taken for opening of educational institutions, hospitals and essential services.

Stating that he felt that unemployment was a big issue and should be sorted out, he said efforts would have to be made to instill confidence among the people.

"The visit of the all party delegation has given a ray of hope to the people," Paswan said.

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