India Singh: Centre Ready To Give Kashmir Autonomy


Apr 4, 2005

New Delhi, Aug. 10: In a bid to apply the healing touch to the state’s festering wounds, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Tuesday urged the people of Jammu and Kashmir to “give peace a chance”. He also reached out to the state’s youth, caught in a vortex of violence for long, to “make a new beginning” along with the assurance that the government would respond in equal measure.

[The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said the Centre was willing to consider autonomy for the state within the ambit of the Constitution, PTI reported on Tuesday night]. Dr Singh told a nearly four-hour meeting with representatives of various political parties from the state here that if there was a consensus between them on autonomy, the Centre would consider it within the ambit of the Constitution.

“We are all servants of the Constitution. There are many shades of opinion in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir. I and my senior ministers present here shows our seriousness in addressing the issues,” he said.

Earlier, in opening remarks delivered in chaste Urdu, the PM said.

“I appeal to the youth to go back to their schools and colleges and allow classes to resume. I ask their parents: What future is there for Kashmir if your children are not educated,” the Prime Minister said, adding, “I assure the youth of Jammu and Kashmir that their genuine empowerment will be accorded the highest priority in Jammu and Kashmir policy.”

The PDP did not participate in the meeting.

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