People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 18, 2007
Establish Peace Zones In J&K: CPI(M)
The following is the text of the statement released by Mohd Yusuf Tarigami, CPI(M) J&K state secretary at a press conference held by him on March 1, 2007 at Srinagar.
THE people of Kashmir have been bearing the brunt of violence the hardest way. The wounded hearts, the daily tragedies, the continuing funerals and mourning and the shattered homes bear testimony to the devastation that has played havoc with their lives.
Kashmiri people were never for violence, though they yearned for resolution of issues. A strong peace constituency in the region induced the sub-continental leadership to come closer and leave behind the bitter past. People of J&K were the first to welcome this development.
Fortunately, the things have taken a new turn during the last couple of years. Those who are well-versed with security matters, experts and knowledgeable persons, including official functionaries and the highest military authorities, have come out with hard facts indicating gradual decline in the level of violence. Even the state governor while addressing the latest session of the legislative assembly confirmed this position. Is this not enough for re-assessment of the situation and to try out creative methods to cope with the situation which could bring some relief to the bleeding hearts?
Our Party was the first in the state to seek answer to this question. On November 4, 2004, we had proposed the identification of the peace zones within the troubled state and had urged the centre to withdraw its forces from such zones. We had said, “The centre should identify certain appropriate areas as peace zones within the state so that the people are allowed to move freely and also declare unilateral cease-fire and order withdrawal of troops from those areas”. It was also proposed that Pakistan could then be persuaded to use its good offices to influence the militants to refrain from violence in those areas. This was the occasion when the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh was urged by the Party to announce unilateral ceasefire during his then visit to the state. It was stated that such a gesture would be a bonus for the people of the state in addition to the economic package he was expected to announce on that occasion. In fact the state secretary of the Party had met the Indian prime minister at his 7 Race Course residence in this connection.
The state unit of the CPI(M) is of the considered view that the time has come when the central government must take immediate steps to seriously consider the suggestion of the Party and identify the peace zones in the state, wherefrom the forces would be withdrawn. With the further improvement in the situation the areas of the peace zones could be extended till the entire forces are withdrawn from the interior parts of the whole state. The Party is of the firm view that such a course would change the entire scenario in the state and effectively curb the violations of the human rights.
The Party reiterates the demand made in 2004 and urges the government of India to take appropriate measures for the establishment of the peace zones, where people would be allowed to lead normal lives. (INN)